Keli Goff, Ryan Lizza, Jim Geraghty and Howard Kurtz discuss the media's role in what has so far been a largely negative campaign.
I think your analysis selvreey oversimplifies the way independent voters make up their minds. One of the things that contributes to likeability is the campaign that's run. Obama did not have to run against Super Pac Ads that will cast him as a socialist and communist. This time he does. It is scary to see the right demonizing a guy who has just tried to be the most centrist president in the last 40 years. The right is defining extreme as the norm, and it scares the heck out of me. I do hope that your analysis is correct, but I worry that the campaign of negative ads soon to be loosed on the airwaves will, in effect, wash out some of that likability.
When it comes to surveying people regarding Romney's or Obama's likability, I don’t think the responses can be trusted. For instance, people who say they "like" Obama personally but don't agree with how he's running the country could very well be trying to protect themselves from being accused of being racist. Likewise, people who say they don't "like" Romney could very well be simply reacting to whatever negative stereotype has been propagated in the mainstream press about Republicans in general or wealthy people in particular (always portrayed as the bad guys). So this whole question of likability seems highly unreliable. As for me, I happen to find Mr. Obama unlikable "as a person" (that is to say, the persona he presents to the public), while I happen to like Mr. Romney’s persona. This doesn’t make me a racist. Liking or not liking someone has nothing to do with either man's race but with their character. Remember Martin Luther King, Jr.? He dreamed that someday his children would live in a nation where they would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Character is what people either like or dislike in a candidate. Unfortunately, charges of racism and distortions about a candidate's record have probably resulted in “unreliable sources,” which suggests there's no way we can be sure people are expressing how they really feel one way or the other about either candidate.
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