How much does it matter if you like a candidate for president?
May 9th, 2012
04:07 PM ET

How much does it matter if you like a candidate for president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Voters "like" Barack Obama more than they "like" Mitt Romney - and that might be all it takes to decide the outcome of the election.

A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows 60% of registered voters say that President Obama is likable. That's nearly double the 31% who feel that way about Romney.

Even among crucial independent voters, the president holds a double-digit edge.

So despite the fact polls show Romney and President Obama in a dead heat both nationally and in key battleground states - Mitt Romney is facing a huge likability gap here.

And it could cost him.

Consider this: In each of the last five presidential elections, the candidate the voters "liked" the most won.

When you put all the other issues aside, a lot of people vote for the guy who does a better job connecting with them on a personal level.

In 2004, polls famously showed undecided voters would rather have a beer with George W. Bush than John Kerry; and swing voters found Bush to be more of a "real person" than Kerry.

As for Romney, pollsters say this likability deficit presents a challenge for his campaign as it tries to shape his image.

They can either work on making voters see Romney as more likable or they can give up on likability and try to emphasize other areas where Romney is stronger than President Obama.

For now it doesn't look like Romney is hurting too badly on this issue since he's neck-and-neck with the president.

But he might be doing even better if he hadn't tied his dog to the roof of his car.

Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter if you like a candidate for president?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. jk in MN

    Likeability doesn't matter as much as Trust does to me Jack. When I see a candidate parking money off shore – I can't ever trust that person – Period!

    May 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  2. Jim


    I guess it's always easier and more satisfying to vote for somebody you like, but it doesn't matter much as far as how effective they will be in office. Reagan was one of our most beloved presidents, but history shows that he was at best mediocre in office. Clinton and Bush were both despised by large segments of the population, yet Clinton was one of our most successful presidents as far as leading the nation goes while Bush was one of our least successful. Voting for who you like might make you feel good but it's not necessarily the best choice for the country.

    Reno, Nevada

    May 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  3. Karl from Flint, MI

    You don't vote for someone you don't like, unless you dislike their opponent even more. Unfortunately, that is what American politics had degraded to. Choosing the lesser of two evils in a very polarized environment. As for this presidential race there seems to be more hate then dislike in some circles.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  4. Larry In Houston

    How much does it matter if you like a candidate for president? It matters a whole lot, to some people. A lot of people connect Romney with the ultra rich / CEO / Business type Owner / and the only thing he cares about is his bottom line. When I was in school, in History class we studied about the pilgrims, and what they done, how they lived, when they first landed on the proverbial "Plymouth Rock" I'll bet that when they were eating their very first Thanksgiving Dinner around that table, most of the people were NOT Doctors / Lawyers / CEO's / Big Business Owners / and the like. I'll bet there was a few "Indian Chiefs" but mostly people that Done The Work, laying the railroads tracks / building bridges / roads / buildings & etc. How did those people get to where they are Today ? Without the "Indians" (meaning the regular workers) this country & people like Romney wouldn't be where it is today.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  5. susan

    I know this from experience...when you like someone, you are more tolerant and accepting of their actions.

    When you don't like someone, all they have to do is look at you the wrong way and you are pissed (*or* ticked off, for the religious crowd out there). 😉

    From the candidate's standpoint, it is more important that you like him, rather than that he likes you. Hey, just sayin'.


    May 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  6. Mel - Houston

    Not much, Jack. My chances of meeting the President, Republican or Democrat, are nill. However, if he has a likeable disposition he will more likely have a better rapport with world leader and will be better able to deal with daily issues.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  7. Brad, Portland, OR

    It shouldn't matter how much you like a candidate; their judgement and how they plan to run the country should be the important things.

    When people vote based on liking the candidate instead of sound judgement, you get a president like Bush, who ran the country into the ground. But people could imagine themselves having a beer with him.

    Fortunately, this time around, the candidate with the poorest judgement and the worst plans for the country is the same as the candidate who's least likable.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    That's a plus. I look for honesty, integrity, and how much I feel they can relate to the issues of MY life and the lives of my loved ones.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  9. Jenna Roseville CA

    How much does it matter if you like a candidate for president?

    It matters as much as who would you rather have a beer with GW or Kerry.

    Face it Obama has a personality and Romney does NOT.

    Roseville CA

    May 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Martha Brooks

    Really? How many of us would vote for someone we DON'T like or agree with? If we do not care much for either candidate, we'll stay home. The hitch is, of course, that most politicians are just not so "likable."

    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  11. Loren, Chicago

    Not a bit. Nobody liked Nixon, but he was an effective and conscientious President in the performance of his duties, though he lacked in his personal ethics. More than half the country loved Clinton, but his actions toward China and his efforts on behalf of Walmart have proved disastrous for the country. Now we have a similarly charismatic President in Obama, and his policies seem to be focused on winning reelection and forget about tomorrow, similar to Mayor Daley in Chicago. Chicago politics are proving to be a disaster for the City of Chicago and seem to be a disaster for our country. I don't care if I like the candidate, what I care about is that he will do what's best for our country and its future.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  12. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    It matters very little to me a need to like a leader or to fell an emotional connection to a good leader. Emotions are a luxury we cannot afford when selecting a leader of the free world. It seems that part of the problem with American politics these days is that voters are basing far too much of their voting decisions on emotional criteria as opposed to criteria purely focused on leadership skills and qualities. I can quickly learn to like a President who is a strong leader and can lead this country out of this mini depression and restore the word "United" back into the "United States" of America..

    May 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  13. Tom in Desoto, TX

    It does not have to be the less of two evils outlook. Years ago I sat down and listed what I found to be important, for the betterment of our people and society as a whole. That is to have clean air, water, housing and overall cleanliness. A good educational system from kindergarten through college along with good roads and common sense simplicity. I'm a Vietnam vet and I find war to be least efficient to handle matters, and a huge waste of money. Those who serve are often less educated, except for the military academy graduates, and large corporations reap the profits for supplying war materials. I'm for education and roads, not war. I may not like the person but I'm not voting for "most popular" in high school. I'll be voting for Obama again.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  14. ken, atlantic city, nj

    It should not matter but it does. If you don't like your boss but he gives you a decent paycheck every week which pays your bills you have to be happy.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  15. Nora H G Corpus Christi

    I guess it is not that important if you like him or not. It sure makes it easier if you feel like he is a down to earth normal everyday person that you can say, he has been in my shoes, he cares about all people, not just the Rich and powerful! I like to smile when I see my President, not get annoyed at the sight of his face and the sound of his voice. Ok, so maybe I was wrong, it is important

    May 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Ofcourse my family & i will
    vote for the one we like & not for a mormon ,we are true Christians & not a Republican Christian so we can not commit such a sin

    May 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Paulo - Detroit

    It's the whole ball of wax for a typically stretched-too-thin modern electorate. With little time between daily chores to gather by osmosis any more than a bare minimum of pertinent information, the last minute gut-feeling in the polling booth casts the deciding vote. Gotta like a guy you could have a beer with, huh, George Dub?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  18. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    This president is the embodiment of American exceptional-ism, with abilities that Europe and other economies covet for their own leadership. Likability isn't required it's only frosting on the cake.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. bob z. from pa.

    i won't get to meet either one so i have to go by want they say obama has lied so much how can you believe him so i will take my chances with mitt

    May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  20. Dave - Phx

    It doesn't matter much. I don't like either of them, yet I'm given the illusion of choosing our leadership. Both of these candidates are set up by the establishment and big money. Neither has my interests at heart, only their own. Our politicians have become the nations biggest criminals.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  21. Gary in San Jose, California

    With all the issues we need addressed I could care less about likability. I like the candidate that can lower unemployment, lower debt, tax us fairly, provide for our defense and basic social services. Am I asking for too much?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  22. Richard Texas

    It is not about who I like at all. It is about who I don't like that maters and directs my vote. With Romney I have absolutely no idea what he might do. With Obama we have already seen what he is capable of and it isn't impressive. That give you any idea who I will not be voting for?

    May 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  23. Ed from California

    It's not about liking, or disliking. It's about who can do the best job that, "we the people" elected him/her to do. We could all be in a better place if, if, John Boehner and his handlers....the Koch brothers would let the duly elected president run the country. The haters have come out of the woodwork, unchecked, and allowed to spew their hatred on the"publicly owed airwaves".... that needs to be stopped. Be patriotic people! Obama was elected by a vast majority of the people, shut-up and let him lead. If you to go back to 2002, elect Willard!! You get exactly what you vote for!! Mr. Boehner......I'm begging you......where are the jobs???

    May 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  24. hamsta

    it doesnt matter as long as we get rid of obama before he completely destroys america.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  25. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    Well, there are alot of people I like, but that doesn't mean they would make a good President. And there are also many people I don't like, but that doesn't mean they would make a bad President. I think it matters more if you trust them and can maintain at least a minimal level of confidence that they are doing what's best for the country. Integrity is a rare commodity in American politics, so I don't think I'll be voting Republican anytime soon.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  26. Pete in Florida

    I vote on candidates' character, intelligence, history (their REAL histories, not the ones made up by their handlers and the media), their positions on key issues, their integrity, and on who "owns" them. But I fear that most voters are much more shallow than that. Worst of all are folks that vote strictly by party, or because of good looks or other meaningless considerations. Which explains how Bush-43 got his eight diastrous years in the White House.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  27. MNResident

    I personally don't like EITHER Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, and yet I plan to vote for president anyway. So if personal likability was a factor, I wouldn't vote. However, I DO plan on voting. So I guess personal likability has to mean NOTHING to me.....

    May 9, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  28. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    Jack, As I like neither of these clowns, yet I know one of them will become the next shady character running this country into the ground, I would say no, likability doesn't influence my choice whatsoever.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  29. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Its big to like the candidate!

    May 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  30. Brando

    There's never gonna be another Bill Clinton or JFK. Personally, I don't need to be "INSPIRED" by someone. Fulfill a dream? whose? Martin's, JFK's, Bobby's and the list goes on...This country went to H ELL back in 2000 and again in 2008. You reap what you sow. 🙂

    May 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  31. Gary H. Boyd

    Likeability is probably more important than one might think. If a voter "likes" a candidate it can overcome a lot of shortcomings. Take golf, for example. Folks generally like Phil Mickelson because, when he hits a bad shot, he offers an "Ah shucks" expression and smiles while Tiger Woods is consistently intense and unsmiling. They're both good but Mickelson's more likeable. It's the same with Romney and Obama. Romney's an "Ah shucks" kinda guy while Obama's arrogant.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  32. Doug Ericson

    I think folks are going to vote for the candidate that fits their agenda the most. The likability factor may come into play at the very center of the independent vote but probably not enough to be measureable. The question reminds me of a scene I saw on TV at the recent National Press Club Dinner. The cameras zoomed in for just a second on an large older man sporting a good crop of white hair. He looked very serious and was sitting near the front at one of the round tables. He may have even had an angry expression on his face. I was struck by this mans demeanor, because at the same moment the camera was showing him, the whole room had erupted in laughter at one of the Presidents jokes. I wonder who this fella was that was so full of himself that he seemed perturbed at the situation he was in. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  33. Ray in Knoxville

    Oh, it matters, Jack. I voted for W back in 2000 because I liked him better than I liked Al Gore, who I thought came across as stiff and stuck up in the debates. Man do I feel like an idiot.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  34. Roger from Albion PA

    It matters a lot. It also matters if the candidate likes us too. After Barack Obama's 2008 comment teasing folks who cling to guns and religion I just don't think he likes me too much.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  35. Paul From Round Rock, Texas

    You should like who you vote for but most of all you should be able to trust the one you vote for. I am getting old now like so many but I think most old people would vote for who they like and not really what someone stands for. It should be improptant to like someone that has most of your views on their calendar and a trust that most items will be done by the end of a term.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  36. Noel Sivertson Roswell NM

    We usually like those who agree with our own political agendas and dislike those whose pilocies we don;t agree with. But if I have a personal dislike for a candidate for other reasons I'll still vote for him for political reasons.

    Besides a candidate's political agenda I also judge whether I would hire him or her to work for me in the private sector.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  37. Jeff In Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, it doesn't matter to me at all. It's just a coincidence that I don't like Obama at all, and he will not be getting my vote this autumn.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  38. calaurore9

    People will vote for the guy they want to have a beer with. So, unless you like fruit punch, it's gotta be Obama.

    Carol In Ma

    May 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  39. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I don't have to like the candidate I am voting for but I must feel comfortable with the way he presents himself. When a candidate has tapes and interviews of him being for policies that he now says he doesn't believe in and will change makes me leery and question his character. Every candidate running for office will have things that he flip flopped on. That is nature of the beast. But when it is the complete opposite of what he is saying now makes me dislike him and untrustworthy to be my president. For instance I understand Romney is now trying to take credit for the auto industry's turnaround. I can't vote for a man like that.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  40. cnspot

    how much does it matter? The American people are so far off with who they vote for now-a-days, its become a race for the more popular. It's like being in high school all over again where the most popular kid gets elected President. We are choosing the next President of the United States of America. Let's make it about who makes the best decisions, not who is more popular.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  41. Patrick Wilhelm

    Hi Jack,
    I think It matters a lot. It's human nature.

    Mays Landing, NJ

    May 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  42. Bill of New Mexico

    Do you want to like your boss or do you want to respect your boss?

    It is most difficult for a boss to have a "liking relationship" with his employees.

    Similarly, I do not want a personal relationship with my President. I want a person that I respect and that I feel is big enough for the job.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  43. jim in nc

    Jack, it is not necessary to like your candidate. It is only necessary to dislike the other bum more.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  44. Ron

    going to the polls should not be a popularty contest.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  45. andy in DC

    I think it matters a lot...unless you can trust someone you don't like...

    May 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  46. Pat in Michigan

    I have not liked one ruler we have had since JFK and they killed him because he wouldn't follow the agenda.
    It does not matter who is running or president. We are not in their "Agenda"

    May 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  47. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Like is one thing but trust that they would have America's best interest at heart is totally different. I do not trust CEO types and especially ones that brag about their successes and take credit for things that they didn't do, like the auto industry comeback.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  48. Leta

    What kind of question is this? Jack this is serious and very important election this November 2012. Are we going to
    vote a presidential candidate based on liking the person or not? And are we supposed to fall in love too?
    Before I go to the voting booth, made sure I am well informed of the political and social issues of both. Watching TV, the
    debates I can evaluate the character, well-principled and sincerity of the candidates.
    My deciding vote will be – why he wants to be elected, because he wants to present and push policies that will help and
    benefit all the people of the United States of America. Pres. Obama will get my vote!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  49. Jim, Denver CO

    I'm one of the minority in this case. I 'like' a candidate based on their philosophy and policies, not because I can have a beer with them. With the current president I like him because of what I just stated. The other guy... I'll put him on the roof of my wagon and let him enjoy the view.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  50. gg canada

    if you like[ made in china] mitts your man–if you like [made in america ]obamas your man

    May 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  51. David of Alexandria VA

    It's probably likable to like the candidate, but not essential. With today's challenges, I want new ideas and the promise of accomplishment - liking can wait. Four years ago we voted for liking. And, a whole lot of us are not liking that decision very much. For sure, i wouldn't like four more years of the same, even from a likable guy. Maybe its the year to, like, defy the odds.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  52. Willy in Las Vegas

    as your stats show, I think it makes a MAJOR difference IF people "like" one candidate over another BUT I think that RESPECT is even MORE of a factor. people may not "like" a candidate personally BUT IF they RESPECT their judgement and leadership over that of their opponent, they will hopefully vote for them.

    we are selecting a President in November, NOT a "beer buddy". we made the "beer buddy" mistake in 2000 and 2004. hopefully NOT this time.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  53. Dan in Albuquerque

    It matters a great deal. People that are generally affable and easy-going like president Obama bring a lot more trust than stiff, often boring people with a record of not having honest positions on issues. Romney meets those descriptions to a T. He is the master flip-flopper and a cold fish.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  54. John Blythe

    Wrong Jack, I don't "like" either one of them. Both Obama and Romney spew nothing more than typical political garbage and represent the status quo. As usual, nothing ever seems to change in this country. I plan on voting for Ron Paul, even though he won't get the nomination, but he is gathering the delegates. I'd feel better as an American voting for someone who actually represents the people and not the status quo, wouldn't you? John in Los Angeles.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  55. wayne, va beach, va

    Well, Jack, if you like "O" so much that you'll vote for him even though you've been standing in the unemployment line for the last 12months, thinking about that mortage of 200K on the house you couldn't sell for 125K, with a 401K thats been cut in half, your kids owe their future to China, theres no question about voting. Besides that tax increase comeing Jan 1, no problem, I've aint got no income. Go Obama.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  56. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    Whether I like Romney or not (and he is probably a nice guy), the fact that there is video evidence that he seems to be a pathological liar basically disqualifies him for office. I like Obama a lot, but I am running against him in Americans Elect because he is not doing enough about underwater mortgages. My proposal is to sell Freddie and Fannie to the Federal Reserve so that they can write down mortgages. Until he proposes the same thing, I am running and will likely go Green if their candidate supports my position and Obama does not – and I live in Virginia, where every vote counts.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  57. Dave, Orlando, FL

    It doesn’t matter one way or the other who I like or who I vote for. The only thing that matters is who big money likes. Regardless of who wins the election, the middle class will suffer. Bush was no friend of the middle class and the middle class suffered. Obama claimed to a friend of the middle class and when he got in the middle class suffered. Nothing has changed since 2000.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  58. Michael "C", Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: I don't necessarily want a "popular" President-–but rather more a "People President"-–One must realize that Presidents have to make "hard decisions"--whether popular or not-–give me a "true grit" President that does something-–I can like him later! Actions--not emotions--that is what matters!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  59. George in PA

    More than it should! How many of the Generals who won WWII were "likeable"? However they got the job done. It was the last war we can actually say we won. Now we're about to elect a President. Should he be a likeable guy or should he be held to a higher standard of actually fixing our problems. Perhaps we should even dare to ask each candidate specifically how he will balance the Federal Budget!

    May 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  60. curtis in philadelphia

    I guess it comes down to whom you want to see on your TV for the next four years, someone you like or someone you don't like, makes perfect sense to me, but then again, I'm a dog person.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  61. Gail, Plano TX.

    It makes a difference, trust me Jack! I not only like Barack Obama, I love him! And what's more important, I TRUST him!

    Mr Romney is an empty suit. Awkward, a liar, and an all around doofus. Everybody sees iit.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  62. Elizabeth From Toronto

    In America that's all there is! That's why Obama and Romney need to be careful in the election. Americans don't really listen to what candidates say they just watch their mannerisms, see how much money they earn and VOTE! Sad but true.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  63. Ron WPAFB

    It matters a lot! It has to do with Trust! The GOP don't even want Romney but they'er stuck with him! And that says it all! My gut says NO, to Romney! It also say No to the GOP and the new Tea Party that is at the center of "Just say No!"

    May 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  64. Sylvia in San Diego

    Are you serious? Of course it matters. Who in their right mind is going to vote for someone they do not like. This questions makes no sense......

    May 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  65. Mr. D

    This reminds me of an old western movie set-the buildings were just a facade. We didn't get a chance to look behind the buildings to see what was really there. But didn't we always wonder? Political personna doesn't always tell the whole story, and maybe we really don't want to know. Just get the job done.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  66. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It matters VERY much since he's the person who will be in our living rooms on TV all the time.

    May 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  67. Erla Williams

    My " choice ", for President, of OUR country ??? Well, It's sure NOT one of these two, running for this position.
    I'm going, " INDEPENDENT ", This election. I DO have that choice..... I assume ???? I will never vote again, for " PROMISES " that are MADE, when they " CAMPAIGN " but never fullfilled., when they get voted In , We're never sure, what's on our PLATE, any more..

    May 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  68. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    Jack I do not like lima beans, I have never liked lima beans. The chances that I am going to eat, order, or purchase lima beans in the next few days, weeks, months, or years to come are slim and none. Why anyone who would knowingly opt for a candidate that leaves a bad taste in their mouth, is beyond me. Working on Romney's likability factor is like trying to put a smoking jacket on a sewer worker and then telling us the oder is pipe tobacco.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  69. nancy in temecula, california

    everyone voted for obama because of his so-called likeability!!!!! look what that did to our country!!! i will vote Mitt!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  70. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Ask about these guys when they are history. I liked Reagan the great conservative and voted for him, but, he nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. We like what we hear, but what they do is a different story.
    If Romney is tied down and rides on the roof of a car from Massachusetts to Washington, I could get to like the guy. But alas, history may show it wasn't him atop the car.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  71. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Well Mr. Personality hasn't been much of a President. I'm ready to let Mr. No Personality have a go at it. I don't want to hear any more of Mr. Obama passing laws through Executive Order, to me that's a Dictator. I want to see some checks and balances. I voted for "Hope" but in reality it's been a "Dope" administration.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  72. Bert in Los Angeles

    Hi, Jack, liking someone has a lot to do with liking their character and trusting them, or at least not having a reason to dislike their character and not trust them. You hit the nail on the head Jack, if Romney puts Man's best friend on the roof of his car, it makes you ask, "What will he do to the rest of us?"

    May 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  73. Fred Kramer

    Unfortunately, after today's cowardly capitulation to the gay rights agenda, the fact that I like the president will not matter in the upcoming election. Despite being a life long democrat I will not support the president's re-election. I will do everything in my capacity to see he does not serve a second term. This is a sad day for our country.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  74. Pete in Georgia

    Obviously it means EVERYTHING. Most liberals, and ALL celebrities and students knew nothing about Obama's political qualifications, which were ZERO and they, along with countless other duped Americans voted him into office based on ONE factor.......................they LIKED him.
    Beyond pathetic.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  75. RickFromDetroit

    I look at the issues and vote for the Party that is the lessor of the evils, but in our society of actors and athletes the winner will be decided by which candidate uses his tooth brush the most, and who has the most surface area to brush.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  76. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    On the one hand you have a man that treats his dog like a member of the family – on the other hand you have a man that treats his dog like a piece of luggage. I know which one I like and which one makes my blood run cold. Now, I only wish I could vote!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  77. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    Romney's a liar Jack. Nobody likes a liar. I learned that in grade school.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  78. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I have consistantly been voting for a few decades. When one finally understands "marketing" you are shocked into accepting that most have been voting for someone they like for a very long time. It's embarassing when one finally realizes this, but it does not change anything because they are already in your head. Spookey as it is as far as I can tell it is still the ploy de jur. For us independents this is why we are voting more for local issues than persons or tarketing our people vote to best eliminate scoundrels. So we vote for somebody likeable not for competency, for patriotism or Americanism or the American dream, we have become a directionless assemblage since we are no longer a culture but a collection of tribes...republicans, democrats, illegal imigrants, indigents, obese, miseducated and "more", (to use the marketing hook).

    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  79. Matt Gerstein

    In a era surrounded by Facebook, I see "Likes" going a long way! Not saying it's always the right way though!!

    Manassas, VA

    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  80. stephanie

    I think it matters to the point of arguing how you feel the president is doing in your own views; However the aspect of voting, has been taken away by the electoral collage which makes you feel your votes does not matter. This makes your opinion of the president not matter in the political world.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  81. Billy in Texas

    He came outta nowhere.They picked and now have puppeted him all the way.We have to standup for our rights.I hear it,but have not in NOWAY seen anything yet Jack.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  82. H.R

    You betcha!!!! I can't see having a beer with the Romney's, they aren't my type. Too Snooty. Come on down Barack and Michelle and b.y.o.b. and have dinner with us. Yeah!!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  83. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    If you don't agree with him, you won't like him. Case closed.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  84. PiedType

    It matters a lot, Jack. I'd have a tough time voting for someone I really disliked, since that means I'd tend to distrust that person. I won't vote for anyone I don't trust.

    Susan R.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  85. John Lennon

    Pathetic nature of electing politicians in American. If we like them they must be good..lol Pathetic ! It's no wonder how many idiots get into Wash DC.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  86. Bill Wimmer, Delaware

    Hey Jack, I am not voting for a someone to teach Sunday School, I want the person who most closely fits my own ideology. In the bottom of the ninth, with the winning run on third base, who do you want up to bat? The player most liked by the fans or the one most likely to get a hit??

    May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  87. Harini

    Of course it does!! I don't LIKE the way Romney looks and sure it reflects in his obtuse outlook on any matter. Obama in that way looks genuine and let's face it. He is doing the best he could considering the mess he took over!!


    May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  88. Drew

    Whether or not people admit it, likeability is a big factor in everything in life. If you like someone, it is usually because of similarities between yourself and the other person. In the example of presidency, I think that you can't really seperate their policies from simply "liking" the person. All we really have to judge these guys on is their policies and opinions. If we don't know them personally, we can't really make a decision on anything else.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  89. Al (Montreal)

    It matters a great deal. If I don't like a candidate I don't vote for her/him. Animal lovers will not vote Romney and neither will gay people. Obama is much more tolerant.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  90. Katherine

    The reason that I "like" a candidate is the reason that I vote for that person. If I don't like them then I must not agree with their views. I wouldn't vote for someone who wants to keep our troops overseas and does not believe in equality in terms of marriage even if that person was handing out candy and hundred dollar bills and seemed like a "nice person".

    May 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  91. Steven Davies

    It really doesn't matter much. For example; I kinda liked George W Bush – thought he was the kinda guy I might have liked to have a beer with, or smoked a joint with or even did a few lines of cocaine. No way I'd have ever voted for that dimwit. If I had a beer with Romney, it would probably be in a place I couldn't afford and I doubt the stuffed shirt would pick up the tab. Ability is far more important than likeability.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  92. barbara in NC

    A Lot. I don't trust RMoney and he's been caught deliberately lying and taking credit for things he DID NOT DO. He also takes things out of context. His super-PACs cannot buy our trust - in fact, they add to it. Look at what he did to his own Party members in the primary. He's power hungry.

    Enough said.

    One more thing - what kind of church baptises people they never met 60 years after they died? The church the bishop leads.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  93. Name*Linda Feldman

    I like Obama, HATE his policies. I TRUST Romney to guide our country back to it's values

    May 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  94. Linda from San Antonio, TX

    Of course it makes a huge difference. We find people likeable or not based on our perception of whether or not we share similar values and opinions. I am not going to "like" narrow-minded, mean-spirited individuals in my personal life, and I will certainly not VOTE for such individuals.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  95. Cesar

    Maybe it is not so much about being liked, but definitely about being credible. Romney does not look credible when providing statements or ideas. I think this is critical, especially when dealing with its people. Maybe he just has the wrong face; surgery could correct that, but not for this election year...

    May 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  96. ogthug

    It matter alot Jack, because if you like the candidate in question it is more easier to to trust that person to lead us to the promise of land of democracy.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  97. Roger P.

    I do not care which candidate is likeable. I believe that the candidate who has the better plan to fix our economy is the one who should lead our country.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  98. Robert Fisher

    Jack, the real question is: how much should it matter if you like a candidate for president. The answer to that question should be close to 0%. While likability is great; a candidate should be judged on what he or she offers the country through policy, diplomacy, etc.... But to answer the question rationally, it matters a lot. Most voters want somebody that they feel a connection with, someone who is not the wealthiest candidate to ever run for president of the united states.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  99. Harold

    President is very likable. He also has not been an effective leader. What is more important!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  100. Betty in San Diego

    How do you know if you like someone that you have never met? Most Americans have never met the president and are basing that "like" on political hype – yep, Obama's got you right where he wants you. As far as the dog on the car, that was just pure stupid. Just be glad he didn't have one more child . . . . I don't base anything on what the ads and speeches state – they are ads and speeches to sway you in their favor by saying just what you want to hear. Base your vote on facts and research because once they get in office – you're like a bad date that just keeps calling and calling and calling.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  101. Jeff Tautges

    It's sort of like marriage. Who in their right mind would marry someone they don't like? If you are going to be stuck with someone for four or eight years, then you ought to like them. Now, if only a marriage license were only good for four years at a time.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  102. Dave from Philly

    I have a hard time with the 'who would you rather have a beer with' scenario. In this polarized era, you gotta vote for the person who shares your values.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  103. Shirley - Cincinnati

    It matters a great deal, not only the candidate himself/herself, but those of the party associated with the candidate.
    Personally I like what comes out of Obama's mouth–class, compassion, logic, thoughtfulness. I don't like the yahoo who yelled 'you lie' in a State of the Union address. I don't like the candidate who says sneeringly 'what a snob'. I don't like the politician (perfect description) who puts victory over Obama before the country and risks a credit default. I don't like the hate campaign waged from the very beginning on this President. I don't like McConnell who repeatedly says all that matters is beating Obama. I don't want to know these people much less have them run my country.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  104. Daisy

    I think liking a canidate matters because I have to trust someone before I like them and trust is how I determine who I vote for.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  105. Yahaya Balogun

    Obama and Ron Paul are trustworthy. Romney's presidency will belittled America in the eye of the enlightened world because you don't really know where he stands because he is a pathological liar. Businessmen don't always tell the truth because of profits they want to make. Ask China.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  106. Sandra from Texas

    Certainly, it matters. When you've been around a while, you learn to do your research and then listen to your gut. When my gut tells me I don't like a person, it is usually for a good reason. It is difficult to trust someone you don't like.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  107. Billy in Texas

    To be honest I would have to go with Ron Paul.When it comes down to us the "people"in general I would have to go with Dr.Paul

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  108. Susan - Laguna Hills

    Likeable is the firm endorsement from voters...here is how much I like these two candidates:

    – I would let obama sit on my laps...
    – I won't even sit next to Mitt in the church.

    And I am serious.

    Susan – Laguna Hills

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  109. George Walker

    I like Mitt and I'm happy that he has been financially successful. However, I do not like what he stands for. We can not be a great nation unless we stand for total equality. Barack seems to be that one that shares my values. To me its not about liking a candidate its, it is about the that candidate shares my ideals. And, no I do not know either one on a first name basis. LOL

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  110. Graham

    Im surelikability is a lot more important to people the less they know about issues, and candidate records on those issues.

    Likability would seem to me to be a voting issue indirectly related to voter sophistication.

    Presenting statistics like the one you just did, Jack, that the last five elections have been won by the candidate with the higher likability rating is just the kind of unscientiffic correlation presented as causation that, well, unsophisticated people let wash over them.

    For myself, i want a guy i like, but with romney, you know, likability is really unimportant to me. I dont want a rock star celebrity as president! Didnt in 2008, dont now. Thats what we got in obama. A guy who filled stadiums like the rolling stones in the 70s. All fluff and flash, no substance, experience, leadership.

    Romney has been painted by the media as boring, or whatever. I remember when i forst heard that and i thought, first, how is that a bad quality in a president after these years of having mr wonderful as president delivering nada? And second, how can anyone say that? I just could not see Romney as uninteresting, boring, milktoast, at all. He continues to be painted that way, and frustratingly, i still dont see it.

    I think that likability is an image driven consideration. Its not a substance driven consideration.

    But hey, we live in a country where every moron has a right to vote, and where media portrayals pass as facts of life.

    Thanks Jack. Youre a good fella.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  111. william Greenwell

    Likeability is irrelevent, Leadership is what I want and no one in thier right mind would want Mitt Romney leading this country

    May 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  112. Dirk

    Unfortunately Jack likeability is huge. Most Americans are not very worldly or informed politically and so they do not necessarily vote based on the issues. Instead they are more concerned with whether they like the person. And Obama has this locked down tight. He is cool, plays basketball, witty, fun all those things that Mitt is not and so Mitt will have a tough fight on his hands and one I believe that he will unfortunately lose.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  113. Simon Gilliat

    I'm a Brit, so have no influence in this election, but I agree it matters whom one likes. I happen to be a long-standing social democrat, so would tend towards Mr Obama anyway, but I certainly believe a candidate must be likeable. I remember sitting on a beach in Thailand when he was elected in 2008, and thinking: At last! someone the world can LIKE is representing this great country. I heard Bill Clinton speak during his election campaign in 1992, and again thought this was someone the rest of the world could like. He had, and all of us have, faults, but he made America LIKEABLE again. That feeling was somewhat lost under his successor. I sincerely hope Mr Obama wins in November, and that your wonderful country regains its place as somewhere worthy of looking up to. One final point: many of us find it odd that you invest so much expectation in one man. Mr Romney recently said the president should have been creating half a million jobs a month to rescue the US economy. How on earth can he do that? All he can do is put an administration in place that can work with Congress for the best. It is those two branches of government who must work together, bearing in mind the world economy. Good luck!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  114. Vonetta

    It's simple, I want to like my president, I want to relate, I want him or her to be a representation of me, I want to believe in my president, because everything else is politics, they make the rules, I follow them. and if I don't like the rules, I want to feel as if my government would listen, because people who like each other listen to each other. I want to like my president, but if I don't like him, I at least want to respect him. I admire, like, and respect my president, I may not agree with him all the time, but I like him. There's something about Mr Romney that I don't like, but I do like his wife. But I love Michele Obama.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  115. Louis, Jax. Fl.

    Likability is less of an issue than the economy. All over the free world, people are tired of waiting for incumbents to get it right. One term and we'll give someone else their chance. This goes for the Congress as well. Everyone has been put on notice. They all need to pay attention.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  116. Alex - Los Angeles, CA

    Likeability is importamt but DISlikeability is MUCH more important for voting.
    I dislike Mitt Romney and I will never vote for him, even that I dont support same-gay marriage (like Romney) and Obama does (unlike me).
    So, that means that dislikeability on the personal level will work at the time of voting.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  117. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It only takes about five minutes for me to determine whether I like a person or not because I like genuine, down to earth people and I find Obama to be that person. Candidate Mitt Romney is like a manikin in a department store window displaying an outfit you may like.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  118. Xfactor

    I like them both in general. But it comes down to trust. And I don't trust Romney. He trays to please everyone by changing his mind whenever needed. He maybe a good businessman. But he's not fit to be POTUS. In the general election he'll actually have to be more decisive, and that's where he'll fell. Even on same sex marriage he trying to give a please everyone answer. He says the POTUS should celebrate the killing of Bin Laden. But he says he'll take a lot of credit for the auto bail out. So do you trust him?

    May 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  119. Van Blackwood Sr.

    The news media has distorted politics so much it is hard to like any politician. But, Rommey is a rich snob who does not care about the average American

    May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  120. BC

    BC in Lithonia, GA

    I like the president Jack, but, honestly I can care less about whether the president is the type
    of guy I can drink a beer with. The friends that I drink beer with could not make a good decision
    on whether to go out with the boys or take his wife out to dinner on their anniversary. I need
    someone who is smart and can deal intellectually with the matters that are facing this world
    and our economy. I can drink a beer by myself and be just as happy

    May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  121. Maxine Israel

    I don't like Romney's politics. Just as importantly, he's never seemed quite 'real'. I don't like any person that seems to 'parrot' rather than speaks to me. I don't LIKE him and, therefore would NOT vote for him.
    Portland, Oregon

    May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  122. Dh

    Can't believe you said that Romney putting his dog on the roof so the dog could be with the family on vacation instead of in the kennel made him less likable. Why did'nt you address the fact that President Obama wrote in his book that he ate a dog for dinner?

    May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  123. Todd McWaters


    For some, I guess it depends on whom you "like." In 2004, voters chose a president that they wanted to have beer with...and look how that turned out. Next time you're out having drinks at a bar, look around. See anyone remotely presidential? I think not. That said, voters shouldn't gauge a candidate based on whether they like them or not. We're choosing the leader of the free world, not the next American Idol.

    Pensacola, FL

    May 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  124. Jeff In Minnesota

    I wasn't terribly excited about the President when he ran in 2008, however, I believed in his message of "change." In 2012, I am not a fan of the President's "lead from behind" approach and am considering Romney for his leadership skills. I haven't made up my mind, but I really have issues with leadership from behind.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  125. Karl Bryant

    Jack, yes it does! I do not tend to like a politician that is a direct opposite of my views. Plus, Mitt Romney tell outright lies or has some deep rooted psycological issues which really calls t question his abilities to become president of the most powerful country in the world.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  126. Tamara, Cornelius, OR

    It depends on WHY you like him. Just to like someone because they are charming isn't enough. I like President Obama because he's working to make my life better as an American. I just wish Republican members of Congress saw him the same way so they could work on helping the country instead of their stated priority of making him a one-term president.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  127. Lacy in Florida

    I would be careful about voting for a person just because he or she is likeable. You can be a fun kind of person and a good singer, but all that glitters is not gold. Look beyond the glitz and glamour, the "rock star image" and vote for values, plans and policies that will reclaim the dignity and vision that is America. Berney Madoff was a likeable guy.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  128. Mark from New Jersey

    It does matter whether you like or dislike a candidate, whether you respect their intelligence and motives, whether you feel that they will do the right thing, whether they have a sense of humor as well as a sense of honor. For example, I don't like anyone who is so self-absorbed that they think there is nothing wrong with tying a dog cage to the top of hteir car for a 500 mile ride, or parking their assets in Swiss and Caribbean banks, or be willing to do or say anything to get themselves elected.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  129. T.P. Anthony

    Of course likability is an imporatant factor. You're hiring someone to do a job. Does an employer hire people he or she doesn't like? NO! Romney barely comes off as human, forget about being likable. Simply put; the majority of voters are not going to identify with a multi-million aire. How are you going to vote for, or like, someone you can't indentify with?

    May 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  130. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    Jack, I hate to say this, but whether I like Obama or not-which I support and plan to vote for him again-it won't make a difference. The person who gets the Oval Office is the one who can kiss up to the super pacs, corporate fat-cats, and oil barons. While Obama will not stoop to that level, and I would think Romney is better than that..we better hope Ron Paul doesn't pull off a surprise.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  131. Xfactor

    I like the POTUS, congress doesn't. That why he's having trouble being an effective leader. I don't like mitt or the GOP. Because all they can say is that it's very important to beat Obama, but they won't say why. I know why, because it'd be politically incorrect to say just because he's black.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  132. Hugh Thorne

    President Obama's name speaks favorably about himself and that improves his likability. The acronymic feature of
    his name OBAMA is One Brilliant American Moving America. Romney will admire that definition.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  133. Larry P.

    Jack, if "likeability" is deemed important, then Romney should concede now. Obama is a very likeable, and genuinely "cool" president, and what's wrong with that? Romney, on the other hand, always makes me think of a typical department store mannequin, complete with the pre-molded smile and hair coloring, as well as the support stick, uh, you-know-where. With all of Romney's flailing flip-flopping, on everything, he also doesn't appear to demonstrate any more integrity than a mannequin. Add in his ridiculously near-psychotic ravings about Obama "politicizing" everything from health care for women, to random flatulence in a crowd, and it begs the question: how could even 31% of those poled genuinely "like" Romney? Beats the grits outta' me!

    May 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  134. James

    It matters greatly just as in life we choose friends, partners, celebrities because we like them. President Obama is very likable , warm , genuine personality comes across as a regular a guy you could sit have dinner share some laughs.

    Romney projects a strong cold stern closed demeanor very off-putting personality, he gives people the impression he if feels he's better than americans.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  135. mike in ohio

    Jack, It is very important to be liked by the American Public. And, to be attractive to the public; Consider Kennedy versus Nixon. What is more important is accomplishments. And the facts are, Obama has accomplished many things. Before and after becoming President. Obama is tough on terrorism. Bin Ladin – gone, Quadaffi – gone, the incident in Somalia – handled and taken care of. Obama knows foreign policy. Romney has no knowledge of the subject. Another issue is the economy. Obama inherited the recession and has been dealing with it. Romney has no clue how to handle the economy. Obama is a Christian. And, most Evangelicals consider Romney to be a member of a Cult, Mormonism. Yes, Obama is a better fit, is well liked and certainly can sing better than Romney or any other Republican.

    May 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm |