Presidential Polls: How Romney and Obama Fare on Family, Likeability and Other Critical Issues


President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle made their first appearance on ABC’s daytime talk show The View on Tuesday. This was one of the first times that they made a joint television appearance in this upcoming election season. President Obama received high ratings when visiting The View back in July 2010, and became the first sitting president to visit daytime television.

This interview was expected to show the Obamas in a more positive light. With recent PR issues from Romney such as the 47% gaffe and his response to the Libyan attacks against the U.S. embassy, he might have to increase his public persona. Romney does have a plan to make him seem more favorable. In a race still considered close, according to pollsters RassmusenGallup and CBS News Poll, public image is a factor to consider.

1. Family

The Obamas and the Romneys both have wholesome families—Barack, Michelle, his two daughters Sasha and Malia; Mitt, Ann, his 5 sons and 16 grand children. Barack Obama has a tradition of asking the outcomes of his daughters’ days and spends evenings with them. The Romney clan has deep familial ties where it is central to Mormon’s beliefs. The family unit is regarded one of the most important things in Mormon faith. Romney wins this one.

2. Likeability

This issue has always been a touchy subject for Mitt Romney. Polls have suggested that Obama is more likeable (54% to 31%), honest (58% to 53%) and relates to the problems of middle class America (52% to 41%). Now, of course, when analyzing these polls, one has to take into account the margin of error, the small sample size and the bias of the polling companies. But when looked at numerous polls and views, Obama’s favorability is higher than Romney overall. Obama wins this one. 

3. The First Lady/Potential First Lady

No doubt about it, both wives of each candidate are quite amazing. Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move! campaign in order to combat childhood obesity. She has also created Joining Forces, a program that helps veterans and military personnel receive employment, support and education. Ann Romney has battled multiple sclerosis and cancer, while raising 5 children. She also is a huge advocate for cancer and MS. She also has been involved in numerous non-profit groups helping disadvantaged youth. Both win on this front.

4. View as actual President

People developed their own perceptions of a president and if they believe either candidate will actually be a good president. When analyzing these numerous polls from CBS News, GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications (AP-GFK) and Fox News, one can conclude many things. 82% of people believe that they understand what policies Obama will pursue if president and 68% believe they understand what Romney will pursue as president. 59% understand that Obama has made it clear what he will accomplish as president whereas 50% believe Romney has made it unclear. 49% of people view Obama has the right experience as a president versus 42% believing Romney has the right experience. Based on the issues I thought were important in public perception as a president, Obama wins this one.

5. Social Media 

Social media has indeed become a huge factor in the public perception in this election. A lot of people receive their news from social media and it may form a bias towards one candidate. According to CNN's Tom Watkins “the incumbent had garnered 28.8 million Facebook "likes" and more than 20 million Twitter followers, compared with 7.1 million "likes" and 1.16 million followers for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.” Google analytics says there is a 14:6 ratio for Obama in searches, 25:17 ratio for Obama in News mentions and 38:15 ratio for Obama in YouTube views. The ratio is defined by ”how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.” Obama wins the social media race.

6. Best SNL Impersonation (Just for Fun) 

I haven’t seen much of their skits, but it seems pretty funny on both ends. SNL recently switched their Obama impersonator from Fred Armisen to Jay Pharoah. Jason Sudeikis plays Mitt Romney. I personally like Will Ferrell’s rendition of George Bush the best.

Obama seems to be pretty positive overall in his public persona. Like I mentioned earlier in this article, Romney realizes he needs to focus on his public perception and the upcoming weeks should tell us how his new focus will play out.

(Note: When looking at all these polls, one has to account for margin of error and take into account that I chose to analyze only certain aspects of the polls. Numerous polls asked how each president would handle the economy, social issues, foreign policies, job creation, environment and each president were quite close.)