Campaigns/Elections

Charisma-Challenged Candidates Take Note!

|

 Gallup has released a survey that asked 1,000 adults to say in their own words what they looked for in a presidential candidate:

The survey asked people to describe presidential qualities in their own words. The results reveal that Americans pine for traditional values and ideals, and are deeply concerned about the solvency of the nation. Honesty was ranked way in front, followed by leadership/strength, competence, integrity, sensitivity to public opinion and the drive to "put America first" and "focus on domestic issues," the poll found. 

Intelligence, family values, "vision for the country," trustworthiness and the ability to either win or at least end the war in Iraq followed….and, last, charisma.

Sadly, I'd say that list effectively bars all current and future declared candidates. More here.

Back in 2000, mere weeks before the Gore-Bush donnybrook (remind me again, who ended up in the White House?), Reason assayed "The New Presidential Identity." Read all about it here.

NEXT: We're All in the Army Now

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. You mean that most Americans didn’t identify intellectual consistency and adherence to logic as important ideals? What about respect for individual liberties and the ability of people to run their own lives? Not that, either!?! I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

  2. ….and, last, charisma.

    Personally, I believe that although no one explicitly says “I want a charismatic leader”, a leader with charisma makes one believe that they have many of the other traits…esp the “leadership” and honesty, sensitivity to public opinion qualities.

    I think candidates that don’t have charisma, in general would rank lower on the list of other qualities, when ranked by voters.

  3. They may have ranked charisma last, but isn’t that what they really use to gauge honesty, leadership, and the like.

    And really, what the fuck does “put America first” and family values even mean?

  4. say in their own words what they looked for in a presidential candidate

    I can sum it up in one sentence. I am looking for a President who will honor his (or her for all I care) Oath of Office.

  5. Of course charisma came in last. Noone would admit to liking a candidate for his/her sheer charm factor (for fear of looking shallow), but it doesn’t mean it’s not crucial- might be among the most important qualities; ask Walter Mondale. That it came in last says a lot speaks volumes about the survey takers’ inability to be honest about the question at hand. Also, why aren’t honesty and trustworthiness closer together in the poll?

  6. Righto, that’s the equivalent of ranking “beauty” as the least important attribute for attraction. People love to imagine such a world, but…

  7. Gallup has released a survey that asked 1,000 adults to say in their own words what they looked for in a presidential candidate

    What is the big news from that poll? Gallup found 1,000 adults, randomly, that can actually use words.

  8. Sadly, I’d say that list effectively bars all current and future declared candidates.

    While some of Nick’s colleagues are holding hands with the likes of Obama, The Man In Black proves, once again, why he gets his picture on the inside front cover.

  9. You know who was charismatic? Hilter

  10. What candidates need to master most, is sincerity. Once they can fake that, they’ll have no trouble connecting with the people.

  11. You mean that most Americans didn’t identify intellectual consistency and adherence to logic as important ideals? What about respect for individual liberties and the ability of people to run their own lives? Not that, either!?! I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

    Apparently they voted the opposite in 200. That’s why Mr. V-Chip, Global Warming, 100,000 more cops on the streets lost.

  12. The whole premise of this poll is horribly flawed. I’ve been doing marketing (mostly direct mail) for campaigns for the past 16 years, and I can guarantee that what people say they want and what actually moves votes are two entirely different things. They say things like this to pollsters, but when they’re given the chance to elect someone who says these sorts of things, they act entirely differently. Instead, the vote for someone who they LIKE and who they see as more like them. In addition, they vote for Candidate A because they’re convinced that Candidate B is evil (because of the nasty attack ads which I send them, which they tell pollsters have no effect).

    Asking people what affects their votes is useless. They’re going to tell you what they think you want to hear, because they want to be seen as the virtuous kind of voter they imagine they should be based on their seventh grade civics class. They honestly DON’T KNOW why they do what they do, but that’s true about almost all consumer behavior.

  13. Of course they don’t want charisma. Charisma is a sort of charm charm that only fools other people, not the good folks answering the questions.

  14. Subtract one instance of the word ‘charm’ from my previous post. :\

  15. Technically, it comes down to which candidate goes on fewer staged duck hunts.

  16. We’re probably all fooling ourselves if we think we really understand why people vote the way they do.

  17. Apparently they voted the opposite in 200. That’s why Mr. V-Chip, Global Warming, 100,000 more cops on the streets lost.

    I voted Lucius Septimius Severus in 200. I had no idea that he supported the V-chip!

  18. Goldwater Conservative,

    You mean Mr. Hilter of Taunton? He is good!

  19. What would be interesting, would be for researchers to amass photos of various historical figures, including numerous Presidents and Presidential candidates. Have one survey population rate those personages in terms of “how good” they were or would have been as President; and/or how attractive as a candidate each would be to the respondent. Then have another, statistically equivalent population characterize each personage according to the various Presidential “qualities” that were discerned in the study cited above. Finally, look at who won the rating vs. the qualities that people associated with him or her. I think an approach like that might give a pretty good idea of the qualities that voters actually value and find attractive in a candidate.

  20. Chris S.,

    I voted Pertinax, myself.

  21. “Apparently they voted the opposite in 200. That’s why Mr. V-Chip, Global Warming, 100,000 more cops on the streets lost.”

    When did this turn into a Supreme Court thread?

  22. That was a sham election, we all know Didius Iulianus got a raw deal.

  23. ProL:

    I’m not sure about those boncentration bamps…

    but then again, I’m just from Meinhead.

  24. That’s simply not true. He was, ahem, removed by office by the Senate. A completely constitutional action.

    Nah, I’m kidding. My boy Pertinax got the shaft, too. Severus rigged that whole election.

  25. I’m probably a little prejudiced in my response to survey research about voters and charisma, since I had an op-ed in today’s Washington Times (referenced elsewhere on Hit & Run today by Nick Gillespie) arguing that aging Boomers may find Mitt Masteroftheuniverse Romney and Barack Fitzgerald Obama answers to our pretensions of immortality. But it strikes me as pretty dicey for pollsters to put voters on the couch and ask them to psych-out why they find candidates attractive. Seems to me that’s like asking you to describe your ideal mate — and divorce rates indicate most of us aren’t particularly good at that. LOL.

  26. Hey, so we probably shouldn’t have counted the votes from all the illegal aliens (Scotts who jumped Hadrian’s wall). And yeah, the 2000 votes cast by “Minerva” were also a little bit fishy…

  27. If voters really believed what they told the surveyors, then Libertarians running in non-partisan races wouldn’t be chalking up much higher vote totals than those running with the Party label.

  28. Oh, and I guess there were also the assassinations, but whatever…

  29. Chris S.,

    No doubt, all those stone ballots were a big part of the problem. And giving citizenship to Gauls was just crazy. The Optimates were screwed by the Populares. Again.

    VM,

    You vere just hiking, right?

  30. … vas is r?ckweise Bewegung?

    ja. we make little hike.

    now if yoo ekskuze me, I must take zees kall from zee Schottisch silly leg-before-wicket man McG?ring.

  31. VM,

    Whatever you do, don’t mention the war.

  32. not mutsch fun in Schtalingrad, no.

  33. Sorry, VM, I switched shows. Though I think Cleese should come back with a sit-com based on Mr. Hilter. He’d be a good Hilter, even though he’s too tall.

  34. Fawlty T. is good enough – (that’s where it’s from, right?)

    I was gonna switch to the intellectual father, mine worker son sketch.

    or throw in “the Bicycle Tour”, my favorite.

    “He’d be a good Hilter, even though he’s too tall.”
    ‘cept I gave ‘im my baby to kiss, and ‘e bit ‘im!

  35. Yes, from the ub?r-great “The Germans” episode. If you haven’t seen it, go get the DVD.

    Yes, now.

  36. I believe Mrs. Moose may have it already!

    Do you know the series “Allo Allo”?
    (not python, but brit humo(u)r nonetheless?

  37. I think I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it. After Python and Fawlty Towers, the only British series that I can recall watching much of are Black Adder and Sharpe.

  38. Intelligence, family values, “vision for the country,” trustworthiness and the ability to either win or at least end the war in Iraq followed….and, last, charisma.

    Man, you people are demanding!

  39. What do you mean WE started it?

  40. You invaded Poland!

  41. And really, what the fuck does “put America first” and family values even mean?

    “Put America first” = doesn’t give a damn what the French think.

    “Family values” = hates gays and Hollywood, loves airbags, hatesguns/loves guns.

  42. “Put America first” probably means making domestic issues a priority, and not doing anything that looks as if it sacrifices any domestic interests to any foreign ones.

    “Family values” is a tough one, and probably very different between its use as a slogan and as a poll answer. As a slogan, it’s been noted as indicating a desire to relegate women to traditional sex roles. As a poll answer, it probably indicates moderation, a desire to avoid scary extremes — “family” being a euphemism for blandness.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.