In This Election, The Likability Factor Prevailed

Opinion

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Beer played a big part in last week’s presidential election, chiefly because Americans elected the candidate they’d prefer to have one with.  Likability was the decisive vote.  

And, as a result, we have President Barack Obama for four more years, despite Gov. Mitt Romney being right on the issues.  The exit polls prove it.  When voters were asked in a Fox News poll which issues were most important to them, the economy won in a landslide followed closely by health care and the federal budget deficit.

But when asked who would better handle the economy, voters answered Romney over Obama by a narrow margin.  Similarly, when asked who would better handle the federal budget deficit, Romney, again, won by a narrow margin.  On the subject of Obamacare, 49 percent said it should be repealed in whole or part, leaving just 44 percent saying it should be expanded or left as is.

Taken together, it’s safe to presume voters thought Romney was right on the issues.  But, still, they rejected him.  This means Romney had a problem beyond the issues, an image problem.  Voters didn’t find him likeable; as a result, he didn’t get their vote. 

Evidence of Romney’s image problem was also found in the exit polls.  When asked which candidate was “more in touch with people like you,” voters resoundingly favored Obama, 53 percent to 43 percent.  The same went for favorability, where Obama beat Romney by a 6-point margin.

These numbers did not happen by accident.  Very early on in the campaign, Obama began framing Romney as a rich, out-of-touch businessman.  Obama accused Romney of paying “much less” in taxes than “many” middle-class families, a claim that was nothing short of misleading.  And Obama ran ads calling Romney a “vulture capitalist.”

Obama’s Super PAC even accused Romney of killing a woman in an ad featuring a widower who lost his wife to cancer “a short time after” Bain Capital closed his factory, leaving him without a job or healthcare. 

That the depiction is riddled with falsehoods and mistruths isn’t the point, the point is that Obama succeeded at portraying Romney as the heartless business tycoon who sent your job overseas. 

That’s why when asked which class Romney’s policies would favor, 53 percent said the rich compared to a mere 10 percent who thought Obama’s policies would favor the rich.  All the while, the real Mitt Romney remained concealed from the American electorate.  The strategy was premeditated, thoughtfully planned, and it worked.

It appears that, once again, the old adage -- “which candidate could you see yourself having a beer with?” -- has prevailed.  Voters answered, Obama is the choice.  And the takeaway is this: Obama may not know how to govern, but at least we like him.

Kayleigh McEnany is a writer and political activist who graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and studied at Oxford University. She is the founder of www.RealReaganConservative.com.

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