John Boehner was probably right about Mitt Romney

Interesting, but perhaps not predictive:

When it comes to the past four presidential elections, which candidate was described as having better judgment in a crisis?
Being willing to take an unpopular stand?
What about getting things done?
Being honest and truthful?
Or simply being able to better connect with ordinary Americans?

Well, the Pew Research Center has been measuring these fives personal traits in the major general-election candidates since 2000.

So where do things stand in this 2012 race? According to Pew, President Obama is rated higher than Mitt Romney in every category — and it’s not even close on most of them.

With the exception of getting things done (where the president leads 41%-39%), Obama is ahead of Romney by double digits. On connecting with ordinary Americans, it’s 59%-28%; on taking an unpopular stand, 54%-35%; on being honest and truthful, 46%-32%; and on good judgment in a crisis, 50%-37%.

28 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    And Willard will still get at least 45% of the vote because of hippies and skeery Mooslim in the White House. The bebehs. Also. Too.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Yeah. The Prez is cool, ain’t he?

  3. 3
    RP says:

    I think it is predictive in the sense that it tells us more about the underlying dynamics of the race than the day to day national polls. Those dynamics favor Obama in almost every way, shape, and form: He has huge leads in almost every group aside from white, Christian, men; people find him more likeable; and he’s generally considered far more fit for the job according to this poll.

  4. 4
    Valdivia says:

    I just love our President. And the fact that the Romney team thinks they can define Obama with such a cemented idea of him already out there tells you everything you need to know, imho.

  5. 5
    Alex S. says:

    Still, Romney isn’t doing bad in the polls. He’s not doing well, but not too bad, either. I think it shows that people have no problem voting for the ‘generic Republican’, and Romney is not yet defined to a large number of undecided voters. The closer people have a look at him, the less they like him.

  6. 6
    bemused says:

    How was Boehner right about Mitt?

    I think I would feel totally comfortable having lunch or something with the Obama family even if he is POTUS. You’d have to pay me big money to spend five minutes with the Romney clan.

  7. 7
    EconWatcher says:


    We won’t see someone like him again in our lifetimes. Just hope the electorate is smart enough to see that.

    Man, what I wouldn’t give just to have one of his qualities: the preternatural calm. He shows, like no one I’ve seen before, how much power you can exert just by keeping your cool.

  8. 8
    Valdivia says:


    I so agree, on everything you say. His temperament is to me one his best assets.

  9. 9
    dr. bloor says:

    @Yutsano: This. At least the 27 percenters are out there and come by their head-trauma crazy, for lack of a better word, honestly. The additional 28% who think Romney inferior to Obama in every category but will vote for him anyways are moronic assholes of a slightly different sort.

  10. 10
    Turgidson says:


    Agreed. There are plenty of things to be disappointed about with respect to how his first term has gone. Some of which were his or his admin’s fault. More were not. And he’s had to deal with a radical and in my view basically treasonous House GOP caucus for half of it.

    But as far as the quality of the person, we’re not likely to do better than BO any time soon. Only ex-president who comes to mind as being of similar character and moral fiber is history’s greatest monster Jimmy Carter. Though I was born in his last year in office and I’m not a Carter expert.

  11. 11
    Hill Dweller says:

    The media is doing everything possible to keep this close. You’d think Romney was President the way they’ve given him coverage for his reaction to the Colorado shooting.

    Moreover, as Jay Rosen suggested, Romney is running a post-truth campaign, and the media doesn’t seem to care.

    Check out this weeks ‘Mitt’s Mendacity’ post over at Benen’s/Maddow’s blog. Willard is telling blatant lies. Not fudging a few facts or stretching the truth; complete fabrications that have no resemblance to reality. But, save a few bloggers/cable hosts, he is still being treated as a credible candidate.

    If that changes, and the media starts calling Willard the liar he is, Obama wins handily. If not, all bets are off.

  12. 12

    I’d like to see ads stressing this poll result. The horse-race narrative overlooks this data, plus polling on individual issues, e.g. that every aspect of the ACA except the mandate is wildly popular.

    Instead of “Obama vs. Romney”, I’d like to see a discussion of “the policies Obama will implement vs. the policies Romney will implement.” We’ll win that one every time.

    I’d also like to see, given Mitt’s standard of fairness in his ads, Democratic ads showing Mitt Romney saying “I like being able to fire people”. Why not pair him with the hated Donald Trump, saying “you’re fired”, to the employees of GS or AmPad or KB Toys? (Self-link, btw).

  13. 13
    SatanicPanic says:

    It all comes down to likeability and for once the Republicans are running the oddball northeasterner.

  14. 14
    Njorl says:

    Sadly, a considerable percentage of Americans want someone who will tell us comforting lies and do what is expedient.

  15. 15
    japa21 says:

    Regarding how Romney is staying so close, it is interesting to look at crosstabs. Several polls that are showing a tightening of the race have increased the percent of Republicans, fundamentalists and undecideds in their sampling. Additionally, they have not accounted for population changes in a lot of states, specially those with minority gains.

    In oreder to look professional, they will start balancing things out closer to the election so that this current BS they are putting out there won’t look as bad.

  16. 16
    Turgidson says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    If that changes, and the media starts calling Willard the liar he is, Obama wins handily. If not, all bets are off.

    Yep. That’s why, as much as I enjoy the pressure on Mittens to release his tax returns, I’m also kind of miffed that the Bain story segued into that rather than continuing to highlight the fact that he’d been indisputably entangled in a web of his own lies and should have to answer for that (doubling down on the 1999 lie on the networks and accusing Obama and Cutter of lying, which is itself a lie of course, don’t count as answering for them).

    I was happy to see the Globe put out another story along these lines today. Because that part of the Bain story was starting to drop, and it’s the most important part in my view.

  17. 17
    gelfling545 says:

    @EconWatcher: That’s the problem for 2016 isn’t it? Who can come up to his level?

  18. 18
    Turgidson says:


    I never thought I’d be saying this in 2008, but the Democrat with the absolute best shot at holding the presidency in 2016 is Hillary, if she wants it.

    With her close 2nd in the 2008 primary (and eventual graceful exit) and her job performance at State since then, which has made her far less polarizing than she had been and even today’s asshole Republicans haven’t found much fault with, she’s the best-positioned candidate in waiting by a mile.

    And considering that the GOP will have four more years of practice in figuring out how to spend their jillions of dollars of outside money to utmost effect, the Dems may NEED her to run to have a chance. Having the Obama and Clinton teams unite behind her will help close the money gap, which wouldn’t be quite as necessary with Hillary as the candidate and being as well-known and (mostly, these days) liked as she is.

    Hopefully she takes her well-earned leave of the SOS position when Obama gets reelected, sleeps for 2 years straight, and then fires up her campaign again, except drafting Plouffe, Cutter and Axelrod to replace Mark fucking Penn and his outfit.

  19. 19
    gbear says:

    Obama is ahead of Romney by double digits.

    That’s just all part of his trickery.

  20. 20
    mclaren says:

    This is why, despite the polls, I don’t think this election is going to be close. If Romney is the nominee (if the Republians are that suicidal and that crazy), Obama is going to win it walking away.

  21. 21
    Canadian Shield says:

    She’d be 68, older than any pres other than Reagan and Harrison right? Don’t see that working

  22. 22
  23. 23
    cat48 says:

    It’s interesting that the prez went up 10pts, 2008 36%, Now 46% in “honest and truthful”. I went to the Pew page & all of the candidates were rate in high 30’s but him with his uppity 46%. :) These have been challenging times with the Teabaggers in DC. I want to keep him there.

  24. 24
    Turgidson says:

    @Canadian Shield:

    Reagan was on the verge of turning 70 when he was sworn in. (edit – oops you said he was older, misread your post the first time)

    Women live longer, and (in my anecdotal experience with relatives and such) stay sharp right up to the end. My grandmother passed away at 95 and was still “all there.”

    Hillary may justifiably decide she doesn’t have it in her to campaign and then be in a job that stressful for 4-8 years at her age and after all she’s done, but I think she could do it if she wanted to.

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    From the crosstabs:



    The only region of the country in which Romney outpolls Obama is the South, and the population sample size for the South was far larger than the Northeast, for example.

    The two are neck & neck (47/48) among men 18-49, but on men 50+, Romney leads 57-40.

    Women, it’s a bit different: 18-49, Obama leads 60-36. Among women 50+, it’s a mere 51-43 lead. Keep passin’ them anti-abershun laws, R’s!

    Well, until you break that down to whites only, in which case Romney wins both men & women, and the only category which comes close is white women 18-49, who favor Romney 48-46.

    Income? $75K+ (household/yr), Romney tips at 50-46. $30K to $75K, neck & neck 49 R to 48 O. Under $30K, it’s Obama, 59 – 35.

    With black respondents, Romney does surprisingly well. He garners 1% to Obama’s mere 96%.

    Of those choosing to identify their ideology as “conservative,” 24% choose Obama, while Obama leads “moderates” 59 – 35.

    However, Obama is only the choice of 4% of those identifying themselves as “Conservative Republicans”, while Romney garners the same support from those identifying themselves as “Liberal Democrats”. I’m curious about these 4 percenters in each group.

    What about those holy, most important people in America, the “Independents”? Why, Romney leads 49 to 44, while they’re pretty much identical with own party: D’s for Obama 90-7 and R’s for Romney 91-7.

    But those “Independents”? When they asked them if they lean Republican or lean Democratic, they’re split half and half. Of the 39% identifying themselves as “Independent,” 87% of them either lean Republican or lean Democrat, split half and half.

    Most studies I’ve seen show that those responding (and it sounds philosophically better) to be “Independent” vote either very conservative Republican or very liberal Democrat.

    There is only a tiny, tiny piece of that “Independent” response which really is, and which is in play. Anyone who looks at the stats and thinks that, gosh, 39% of them are Independent, and Romney’s leading them, so we need to boogety-boogety for those Independents? No. Good luck.

    You’re much better off registering, DNA-printing, Photo-ID assisting, and turning out your voters than going for that tiny percentage of so-called Independents who truly do switch their votes back in forth in any sanely predictable fashion.

  26. 26
    dww44 says:

    @bemused: I too was hoping someone would answer the question about how Boehner was right about Mitt.

  27. 27
    El Cid says:

    This one’s very interesting: when asked if you were voting For your candidate or Against the other candidate, Obama voters at 72% said it was a vote for Obama, while 22% of Obama voters said it was against the other guy.

    Only 38% of Romney voters felt they were voting for Romney. 58% said it was against the other guy.

    Thirty-eight percent.

    They hate Mitt Romney. They just really, really, really hate Obama.

  28. 28

    @El Cid:

    However, Obama is only the choice of 4% of those identifying themselves as “Conservative Republicans”, while Romney garners the same support from those identifying themselves as “Liberal Democrats”. I’m curious about these 4 percenters in each group.

    I’m guessing that a certain fraction of the population will lie to pollsters. They’re easiest to spot when they give crazy answers like this, but they’re probably subtly corrupting the data in every poll you’ve ever seen.

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