Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?
July 24th, 2012
03:15 PM ET

Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the election just three months away and the economy struggling, a new poll suggests Americans overwhelmingly trust Mitt Romney to get the economy back on track.

The USA Today/Gallup poll shows by more than 2-to-1 - 63% to 29% - Americans say Romney's business background would help him to make good decisions about the economy.

The Obama campaign better take note. This poll suggests the president's strategy of relentless attacks on Romney's record at Bain Capital and his business background could backfire - big time.

With unemployment above 8% for 41 months, Americans might not care about what Romney did 10 years ago. What they care about is someone fixing the economy today. In fact, a lot of voters probably find Romney's business background to be a plus.

Meanwhile, the president has his own strengths over his GOP rival. This same poll shows by a margin of 2-to-1 that voters say Obama is more likable than Romney. By wide margins, voters say the president understands their problems better and that he's more honest and trustworthy than Romney.

Which sets up an interesting dilemma come Election Day:

Will Americans vote for the candidate who they believe can fix the economy - the nation's top issue - or the one they like more?

Here’s my question to you: Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

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.

soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. pat in michigan

    Who will like a president who destroys the economy? Look at Bush's legacy . He will be villified forever.
    If a president can do something constructive with the economy then he will be liked just fine.Please remember however it is Congress who write the bills and passes the legislation.Who was it that just voted down bringing jobs back home again?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  2. jen seattle wa

    Give Us a President who is Highly knowledgeable of Economy .Dont give us a President who spies locals through democratic operatives Listening to words to be heard as if in the know about concerns that dont translate with economic propers..

    July 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  3. Martha Brooks

    That's easy! If the economy improves and is good, we will like him. If it tanks, no matter how nice a guy he is, we won't!

    Martha, Rew, PA

    July 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  4. JD in NH

    Can't a president be both? You seem to imply that Mitt, hands down the least likable of the 2 candidates, can fix the economy. Maybe he can, maybe he can't. He hasn't given us enough information to decide one way or the other. His money was made in investments, not job creation. If a job was created, it was incidental to creating wealth. Of course, Mitt's problem is he wants to take credit for whatever jobs he created, but not for jobs that were outsourced or entirely done away with during his tenure at Bain, a date he also disputes despite overwhelming evidence.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Richard Hill/Colebrook,NH

    Jack, its one thing to be able to handle the economy and another "To Be The Bain Of The Economy"!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  6. Dave - Phx

    Neither. President's do not control the economy. This is why half of America votes Republican, because you guys print such nonsensical and misleading information. Are you going to tell me the President has anything to do with how much money the oil companies, Apple, IBM, American Express, etc are sticking away with record profits? They certainly aren't trickling it down, and he cannot do ANYTHING about it.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Bob in Ohio

    Jimmy Carter was likeable, and a one term President. History will repeat itself, unfortunately.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  8. tom bulger, canandaigua, NY

    George Bush was unbelieveably incompetent, but he was more liked than Al Gore. He was awarded the presidency by the Supreme Court when he came close to winning.

    Romney covers his tracks, so it is undiscoverable if he is competent or not, but he is definitely not as well liked as Obama. Expect the President to continue moving us out of this trickle down morass.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  9. Tonybottomline

    It's more important for the president to be able to handle the economy than to be likable: I mean, being likable won't put food on the table.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  10. John from Alabama

    Jack: Most experts agree likable is more important, but handling the economy comes in a close second place. Another quality is believability of the candidate. I think President Obama is more likable and believable than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney might have the edge in the economy, but President Obama has had steady growth in jobs and look where the Stock Market close today as compared to the low of 6500 points. Reason for high unemployment is those who will hire are waiting until after the election. Many possible employers do not care who gets hurt, as long as their political aims are met. Those getting jobs after the election might want to think twice about their employer.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  11. EdfromMD

    Likeable since everybody can see that, and if they are there is always another reason why the economy is bad.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  12. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    Every president since FDR handled the economy by signing bills worth trillions. For decades our economy boomed by government spending, so what was there not to like. One not to like? Jimmy Carter who, the last time I looked.cut big spending programs. The Republican Congress said no to Obama's jobs bill last September. It would have made construction workers, firemen, cops, and teachers loving him.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  13. Doug Ericson

    There is nothing any President can do under the present circumstances to turn back the economic clock, except to declare National Bankrupcy. The sooner they get it over with the better. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  14. David of Alexandria, VA

    90% the economy, 10% the personality. "It's the economy stupid." Truer words were never spoken. If the economy is humming, revenues can go up, people can aspire to greater things, and we can create a future for all. I don't have to particulalry like someone who can effectively create conditions on which I can build my success. We have a formidable economic engine which is stuck in second gear - we desperatly need someone who understands how economies work in the global age and can clear the way for ours to rise to its potetnial.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  15. Irteza

    Does that mean that ability to handle economy and being like able are mutually exclusive?

    July 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  16. Richard Texas

    The problem with the two we have to choose from is both will have a dysfunctional congress who decide what gets done and if that congress is wasteful which the last 20 or so have been, then there is no hope for the future of this country or the president no mater who we elect.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Ed from California

    We need a republican controlled congress to act as American patriots, instead of shills for the Koch brothers and the special interest lobbyists. Such as; defence contractors, the defence industry, health care industry, big pharma, Wall st "investment" houses, The banks, telecommunication companies, The entire oil industry......the rich, who doesn't want to pay their fair share.

    Pres. Obama is a honest man trying to do the honest thing. But, he can't do much if he has no cooperation from John Boehner and all of his cronies. Who, in my opinion, are sabotaging, America and her economy, and the middle class just to benefit his handlers. His handlers? see above.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  18. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Jack, it is not all the president doing, you have a do nothing congress, especially the house of representatives, the speaker is dead set on doing nothing he brags about, he wants Obama to look bad. He make statement that the president has not send proposals to them. I find that very hard to believe, that a president by now would not know he has to deliver his proposal to the house. The speaker dose not care if it hurts the American people he has sworn to work for. You need to pay attention to this guy he is very dangerous. He dose not like Romney, so he would also have the same problems or worse. He the worse speaker ever!

    July 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

    It is more important for the president to be able to handle the economy. You may not like him personally, but if he is able to do the job and get it done, then he is the one for the job. You may like someone, but he may not be able to get the job done. I would rather have someone as president who can get the job done.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  20. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Dear Jack, for asking such a ludicrous question you have to be on “Dancing with the Stars”. George Patton got the job but not because he was likeable. The obvious answer is…handling the economy.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  21. jk in MN

    Both are important, Jack. Character is important too. There's a BIG difference in the 2 candidates there. You have to remember, the President can't handle the economy alone; it's actually up the Congress (sad to say and this one is bordering on being a Treasonous Congress) to actually work with the President and not be a roadblock to everything they propose just to make him a one term Presdient.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  22. Reggie53

    As far as I am concerned, the elected president should have some sense of how to handle the economy. Its like if I am applying for a job and i have the experience but the other person is more likeable but have no idea of how to do the job. I do not think my experience should be overturned by this other person who is way over his/her head in the job. If you want to get the job done, you have to hire somebody with experience in that field because that inexperienced person can get very overwhelmed with the job not having any idea of what to do. This is what is happening with Obama......people were taken in with his charisma and we are now paying the price for it. Our economy is now a disaster and I do not feel that he should be given another chance to make it worse. Let us try somebody with the business experience and once the economy is working again, the haters may even get to like Romney. Once again there will be jobs and people will not be losing their homes in foreclosures because of the loss of jobs. Obama is good in commmunity organizing and I am sure he will fit right back in.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  23. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    The economy is not Obama's fault ,it's the fault of the racist Republican /teaparty,we need a President we can TRUST -HONEST & Romney is not he wont even release his taxes,what is he hidding?America wants to know

    July 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Gary in San Jose, California

    If a candidate can improve the economy and reduce our debt then I like that candidate.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  25. Diane

    Likeable Jack as he would show more empathy and listen to people as opposed to decide for the people without giving a smithereens what they think. I would go further and look at HOW does he plan to handle the economy. If he is all about business, it becomes about the bottom line for him. Remember ..."Corporations are people too my friend". It is about making the rich richer. Besides running a country is not only about Bussiness, but Education, healthcare, foregin policy and we all know how "brilliant" Romey iias n those areas. A president needs to be able to relate to people as he will not be running a country made of robots.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  26. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Jack your question is somewhat slanted to the advantage of the sitting president as the candidate trying to unseat the President has probably not handled a national/global economy before. Therefore the sitting President is better equipped to handle the economy. The competing presidential candidate may appear to be more likely to better handle the economy which is sometimes based more on that candidates likeability and ability to manage voter's perceptions of his or her business acumen.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  27. Mel - Houston

    It's not so much important for the President to be able to fix the economy as it is for him to appoint someone that he trust to fix the economy. All presidents have to learn how to delegate authority. Some presidents are better at this than others. Jimmy Carter was not very good at it. Reagan was. So far Obama has learned the lessons well. All president should aspire to be likeable. A couple that come to mind that weren't are Richard Nixon and maybe Harry Truman. Dwight D. Eisenhower I've read had a real temper but managed to keep it under control for the most part. On avereage a likable person can accomplish more than one that is not. More importantly it will not make him a good leader.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  28. Mark, Oklahoma City, OK

    If I have a full time job, health benefits, a roof over my family's head and money in the bank...then ANYBODY who is President is "Likable".

    July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  29. Susan-NJ

    Bringing production back to this country would solve the problem but no elected official seems to be able to cut CHina lose. So then they lose the election.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  30. JM from DFW


    The President sets the vision for the future of our economy.

    Back when the Unions were out of control in the 80's, instead of creating a partnership, Ronald Regan broke the unions, starting with the Air Traffic Controllers and the out sourcing and the downfall of the our economy started. Entitlement programs for that generation was predicated on improvement for future generations. They did not expect to lose job opportunities to underdeveloped countries. Romney made a fortune with Bain Capital, investors were happy. We sold our future for instant gratification.

    President Kennedy was not an economic expert. However when you consider what the Space program has done for technology, it is the best part today for our economic system today.

    We are like drug addicts, always wanting a quick fix. We are one nation under God without a Vision. Without a Vision the people will perish.

    At least Barack Obama has a Vision.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  31. Barbara

    I'll go with likable. They have consultants to figure out the economy.

    Mitt's "economists" will be the donors from the Chinese associated Adelson casinos and from European money and from Koch brothers, Dick Armey and Karl Rove. Do we need someone bought by China and Europe?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  32. Jenny Sills from Rome Georgia

    Is this a real question? I would vote for Oscar the Grouch if I thought he could get the economy back on track. Is he running?

    July 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  33. Brad, Portland, OR

    Since Obama is better able to handle the economy AND more likeable, people won't have to make that choice in this election.

    If Romney is elected, his only announced plans are to cut taxes for rich people and corporations, eliminate regulations for corporations, and cut programs used by middle class and poor people, including children and the elderly. This is the same "economic plan" that poorly-regulated Wall Street firms and banks used to rip off consumers and tank the economy the last time the Republicans were in charge.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  34. Dr. George Italy

    If a president can handle the economy, not only will he be likaeable, he will have peformed his first and only miracle, and thus may be on an improbable road to saint hood. Eventually, the president when caught with his pants down, will lose all likeability and thus lose all likeability, except for one person,i.e. the women he had sex with!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  35. Jenna Roseville CA

    Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

    The economy is most important.

    Obama has that one nailed. He saved our nation from a 2nd Great Depression, the US Auto Industry, and Wall Street – which saved MILLIONS of American Jobs.

    Romney on the other hand was the Pioneer of US Job Outsourcing. Can't seem to tell Americans of the Jobs he DID create here in the US. Only mentions "STAPLES" but then the job creation figure changes.. First it was 100K, then 73K, then 50K, lastly 37K. No other job creation is mentioned. And had Romney been president when the Auto Industry was on the brink of collapse he wrote an article stating LET THE AUTO INDUSTRY FAIL.

    Not only does Obama have a handle on the Economy he is likeable too and we also like and respect Michelle Obama.

    Romney can't relate to us "little people" "the help" and Ann Romney refers to us as "you people"

    OBAMA 2012

    Roseville CA

    July 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  36. Eric - Houston

    Absolutely! I can like a lot of people and do, but there is only one president at a time and I need him or her to be competent. As one of you contributors once said "It's the economy, stupid!"

    July 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  37. Bob Thomson - Southfield, MI

    What's wrong with a president who can do both? We have one with Obama but the Republican opposition would rather have the economy fail and have people suffer than to cooperate with the President and pass legislation that would help to resolve economic problems. They might have to blame Bush for the economy if they can't make it look like Obama failed. Keep this in mind next November.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  38. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    With such an ambivalent question as this, I would have to say it is more important to be likeable, because the economy, though we keep wanting to place all the responsibility on one person, is not a President's liability or reward alone.
    But I'll keep waiting for some news station to focus on how many jobs the Congress has created, or how the Congress has helped or hurt policy to enable the economy to grow instead of the spin they can create by putting sole responsibility for our welfare on one human being.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  39. Cactus Pat in Wyoming

    Must be Trick Question Day.

    George W. Bush was likable but the man listened to advisors yelling about weapons
    of mass destruction in Iraq. George would have been better advised to kick out
    Cheney and Rove and listen to his Dad. Don't know exactly who George W. was
    listening to when he made financial decisions. I'm betting it was the Kochs, the
    Tea Party as we now know it, and maybe Grover Norquist. They sure weren't
    looking out for George W.'s legacy or the country's welfare!

    So, Jack, my answer to you is, likable is good but getting the job done trumps.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  40. blakefross

    The old saying is true, actions speak louder than words. But President Obama seems to think his words more than make up for his actions. I don't care how big his smile is in pubic. I need a job, then maybe I can smile again.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  41. Vicki Benham

    I think the more important question is one of integrity. How can you trust a person without it? Something I believe President Obama is full of and Mr. Romney is sorely lacking.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  42. Gail, Plano TX.

    Jack: it is important to have a Predident who does not lie & distort the facts! This is what you will get if Romney buys the election. And he is not even a good liar! However,he is white and that is what this election is about.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  43. Dave R-Seattle

    The two aren't mutually exclusive. It's difficult to get elected if you are not likeable. Its difficult to help the economy if you are not elected. Our president should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  44. steve barfield

    I think it is more important that the president just do the job he was put in there to do,and he would not have to worry about being liked.It is obvious that the goverment is not doing it's job or we would not be in the shape we are in.They will all promise the moon,and then tell you to go get it.Our goverment is all about big business,not what is best for the country. steve il

    July 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  45. perry jones

    i would perfer a person the can handle the economy

    July 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  46. Pete in Florida

    Neither one. Nonpartisan Americans – the Indpendents – will vote for the candidate they can TRUST, that is HONEST, that is more CREDIBLE.....and that sure ain't Williard Romney, who has been evasive and misleading about EVERY issue, even his own finances and taxes. Obama has already proven that he CAN handle the economy, even with the entire Republican party road-blocking him every step of the way; he brought us back from the very brink of economic collapse and has made steady progress ever since.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  47. Nora H G Corpus Christi

    The economy has been in trouble for a long time. Way before Obama. Of course that is not the way the GOP remembers it. So let's just say lets take the guy we like, who does not make you feel like he is getting ready to sell you a car with sugar in the tank. If Romney wins, I Know the economy will still be in trouble,no matters what he says now.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  48. Obama is a joke

    We know that Obama is a Leftist. We know that he purposely deceived voters in 2008 by portraying himself as a kind of moderate. He is anything but a moderate... If you look at Obama’s past, from his runs for state senator, then US senator, and then president, you see him doing any and everything to subvert the political process to his advantage. Do other politicians do this? Some do, but the bad apples usually get properly vetted first before they ever get anywhere near the Oval Office. In Obama’s case this didn’t happen.

    The people that were supposed to do this didn’t do their job and The numbers of people raising alarms about Obama during the campaign were few and far between. What we knew about the pre-Oval Office Obama was scant compared to what we now know about him and the picture is not pretty and It isn’t much of an exaggeration to say that the nicest thing about Obama is his SMILE  ......... pathetic !

    July 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  49. Brando

    Likeability? That's how the youth operates. Swagga. See, with an "a". "Oh, he can sing" = Achievement? He ain't Bill Clinton. There's no Arsenio, no Sax. We are full-filling whose dream? John's Bobby's Martin's Founding Fathers'? It's OVER. DONE. GO MITT! 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  50. Ann from Charleston SC

    If by likeable you mean the candidate who understands people's problems better and is honest and trustworthy, I'll go with likeable. There is only so much the president can do to fix the economy, and I'm not so sure that the bureaucratic mess in which the government operates is the place for someone used to the private sector. There is a very big difference between the two. Give me someone who understands who we are as a people and can motivate us to be innovative and creative, and to make our dreams a reality and we will have the better economy we are asking the president to give us.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  51. Phyllis G Williams

    Is it more important for a president to be able to handle the economy or to be likable?

    Both are just as important, as the likable person can be related to. It is very important
    to have one seeking out your welfare in the economy. "Love covereth all sins" (Proverbs 10: 12).

    July 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  52. Sam

    It really doesn't matter Jack. If it were only about the money, then Repubs would pick the economy. The GOP are taking their castor oil dose by following Romney into another losing effort and the Dems are touting the efforts to assist the middle class which will end up in a victory come November.
    What the GOP doesn't seem to understand or learn is that the warmongering spew from folks like McCain and the overwhelming volume of cash slid into their pockets by lobbyists really make those of us in the middle class chose anyone from another party.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  53. Michael Bindner

    Obama can do both, so there is no need to make a choice. At least there is some hope that Obama will eventually raise taxes on the wealthy, thus moving money out of the savings sector and into consumption. There is no hope with Romney, who will double down on tax cuts that give CEOs an incentive to cut staff costs and pocket the profits.

    July 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  54. Greg Turman


    Vote Romney for president of the United States
    Vote Obama for Miss America
    Gregory Turman

    July 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  55. Jim in Denver, CO

    I both like President Obama and believe he can get the economy turned around. BUT he needs a congress that is willing to work with him and compromise. That is the real key thing.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  56. BrainTurnedOff

    Of course they will vote for who can fix the economy. The question is, who is this going to be. Mr. Romney, who's business records don't say so much about his understanding of the overall economy a President has to deal with, or Mr. Obama, who's record does not appear to be so bad given the aftermath of the worst crash in wake of the Bush years, and given that Republicans never wanted Obama to be successful (remember Rush Limbaugh)

    July 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  57. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    Plane and simple Jack. If I don't like a president or a presidential candidate it's very likely I won't like the way that person handles or would handle the economy. Of course there are other factors to consider but the economy is a hugh factor. Drilled into my head from a very age on by my parents was the phrase "You are known by the company you keep." Romney has kept Bain, whose greedy modus operandi was to slash, burn, and bankrupt companies for the sake of profits, enough said.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  58. Jay


    The problem is, Romney's business experience is based on outsourcing and shipping jobs overseas, not exactly what our nation needs right now (unless we can outsource ALL the politicains!). Ron Paul is the ONLY answer in 2012.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  59. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    They should be respected and likeable. Romeny is an etch-a-sketch and the President seems to lack the courage to stand up to Congress, it's easy to blame them instead of sticking to the issues. We really are a divided nation and it's getting worse and neither of them seem to have what it takes to be a uniter.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  60. Mycroft Lake Travis Texas

    Really again ... Jack, the economy was saved by President Obama, after the Bush Presidency nearly threw us into the greatest depression we could ever realized. What you or your news station avoids broadcasting are the Bar Graphs, displaying the facts, which clearly shows how electing President Obama somehow avoided our economy and country from sliding to an abyss, the depths of which were horriffic, maybe even insurmountable. I have trouble believing any polls anymore,corruption seems to exist everywhere thanks to the GOP. Their man only has a chance if they manage to rigg the voting machines again.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  61. susan in Ohio

    Jack, I'm experiencing "Linda Blair Syndrome" with this either/or question, as if that is or will be the ultimate test regarding who should be in the White House next year. President Obama could be getting more done on the economy if, IF, he could just get at least a few of the Republicans to work with him. They've made no secret of the notion, a la Mitch McConnell, that they will do everything in their power to make Obama a one-term president...the economy be damned! It's all about them...not us.

    It's sad that money and power outweighs the economy. Or, to bastardize Mr. Spock's words: "The good of the few, outweighs the good of the many."


    July 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  62. David Doherty

    The question of if Romney can fix the economy should be will he fix it. If fixing it to better the lives of middle class and poor Americans would take a bite out of the pockets of the rich, which it would, then no he won't fix it. And anybody who believes other wise is a complete simpleton. Anytime I think of Romney or see a picture of him, I can't but help but replacing the image with the figure of the rich guy from the monopoly game. Anybody as ruthless a Romney is only out for one thing, can you say Romney!
    Dave from NH.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  63. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    Jack, use your own experiences as a gauge. How does a crotchety, jaded, sarcastic, irrascible New Yorker prosper through a distinguished five decades-long career ? Competance always trumps likability.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  64. I'm a Rose

    I will vote for President Obama who is most likeable and is more able to handle the economy. I think Romney will ship all the jobs overseas, including the IRS and sit back and laugh at you for trusting him. He is sly like a fox and doesn't even know what his positions will be if he were president because the Koch's and Addleson's haven't informed him yet. He is only a puppet/yes man. I have been reading about all of the people He/ bain fired. They are in bad/sad shape, no wonder there aren't any jobs Mitt got rid of all of them. Don't blame Obama for this mess, what Romney didn't do, Bush finished up when he was President/puppet.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  65. Loren, Chicago

    Nobody liked Nixon, but he laid the groundwork brought us through the financial mess caused by the Viet Nam War. I don't care whether the President is likable, I care that he can make the necessary decisions to get America employed. Ultimately, I don't think that the Democrats care whether we have jobs, only that we vote for them. While I think the Republicans may not care either, they also know that their ability to make money depends on a thriving economy, so they will do what it takes to get America working.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  66. calaurore9

    Presidents cannot 'handle' the economy, so if you like them, you'll believe them when they tell you they can.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    July 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  67. Patsy, TX

    Frankly, Jack, how does anybody know what Romney would do? He tap dances around every issue, refuses to
    be specific on his policies, and won't answers any direct questions. If he ever decides to tell the American
    people the truth about his "plans", the polls will shift and Romney will be left holding the bag (filled with money, of

    July 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  68. calvin

    it is more important to know about the job then to be liked. you see what being like is like Obama. he would sale is kids to get votes. most of his followers are like the people who would take poision or walk on hot coals if he said it was the thin g to due.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  69. Renee, Illinois

    Clearly, I'm in the minority on this one. I don't believe for a minute that Romney can make the economy better, not for me. Better for rich people, yes. Better for the rest of us, no. And that's where the issue of trustworthiness comes in; we need to ask ourselves will Romney use his business acumen to help the country or the campaign contributors who have already bought him? Truth is, I don't believe either candidate is really up to this task. So if neither can handle the economy that leaves me with who understands me more and you've already answered that one.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  70. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Depending on what measures are taken to manage the economy the most likeable candidate would logically be elected in a democracy of voters. TV viewers do not choose a program's commercial ratings they choose the programs they like. If Romney goes to Israel and promises to pre-emptively wage war with Iran to improve the American economy I will expect him to lose the election. If Obama continues to work for the improvement of the middle class majority I will expect him to win the election. Is Romney paying you under the table for your blatantly GOP slanted line of election questions?

    July 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  71. ken, atlantic city, nj

    For the country it is more important for a president to be a able to manage the 16 trillion dollar federal debt and the100 trillion dollar SS/medicaid/medicaid unfunded debt. We don't need a likeable clown. I can rent a clown or see one at the circus. The u.s. in bankrupt and is being kept alive by the federal reserve printing money with no collateral to back it up.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  72. Ron G from Florida

    The presidential Election is the biggest popularity contest of all time, ability has nothing to do with it, if you have
    the ability to get nominated you have the ability to run the free world, Likability is what you have to have to get
    nominated, The economy is a after thought " we can always hire someone to take care of the hard stuff".

    July 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  73. Pete in Georgia

    STOP with the "handle the economy" nonsense !!
    We've been duped into believing that a President can "magically" fix or "handle" the economy when in FACT all a President should do is stay OUT OF THE WAY..........................and let free enterprise work !!
    It's when some phony like our current impostor meddles with the economy and business, something he has ZERO knowledge of, that disaster strikes.
    All we need is a new President who truly understands our free enterprise system and reduces the never ending tax and regulation burden, and we will see a turn-around...............................and soon.
    He will restore the most important ingredient in the American system........................CONFIDENCE.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  74. Lee from Erie Co. PA

    I'm Obama's age and would have likely voted for him for Prom King if I would have gone to high school with him but putting a man in charge of the largest budget in human history when all he'd ever done was balanced a checkbook just wasn't smart.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  75. manning

    Jack, I think you are over stating the polls, when the people go to vote Obama by a landslid, you have a good job with good BB and have a very good retirement, you will also get Social Security and medicare at 65, we poor people really need SS and Medicare vote for Obama Jack, because Romney dose not like the poor or middle class, I do think you make the money Romney makes, so be smart, yeal he is back so what!

    July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  76. Wm in PA

    The President provides leadership and may request of the congress help for the economy. The Congress has total control of funding, and all regulating aspects of the economy. Till Congress is fixed it matters not a whit about the President.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  77. Overby

    The most likable guy won in 2008, and look where it's gotten us!!! Nearly 50% higher deficit, higher unemployment to the tune of about 375,000 a week, lower home values, and the fear our nation is going to topple over. Obama brags about saving the auto industry, but both GM and Chrysler ended up in bankruptcy just as Romney said they should, they still haven't paid back the tens of billions they owe us, and Chrysler is now owned by Fiat...great save Mr Prez. I don't think Obama is likable any more, so I'll take the competent one this time.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  78. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Competence and likability are both important. I see in President Obama a good man who truly cares about the middle class, to whom he and his family belonged. I find him very likable. In Gov. Romney, I see a good man whose vast wealth and lifestyle (for his entire life)is far from what most Americans experience that he can not possibly understand what the average person is dealing with. I have great fear for this county if we have Republican president and congress = The Ryan budget, vouchers instead of Medicare, more tax breaks for the wealthy, removing enviromental safe-guards, less restrictions on Wall Street all would be devastating to our slowly-recovering economy. Gov.Romney is a good man but we must not put another Republican in the White House.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  79. Thomas retired USA ARMY Chicago, IL

    That is like asking what came frst chicken or egg. I didn't like Bush but everyone else did. So the economy took a hit anyway. I liked Clinton and the economy flourished. It really doesn't matter for the economy. Making deals and keeping America world wide status required a charismatic leader.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  80. Nancy, Tennessee

    Personality contests should be left for high school class officers. President Obama has had four years to make changes to help the economy. The Republican party was in charge when the economy tanked. Governor Romney is a true Republican. Oh, well, we'll probably vote on who has the best personality.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  81. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    Of course it is MOST important for a president to be both and I think Mr. Obama fits the bill providing the Republicans let him make some decisions without all the hullabaloo they spew.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  82. Ted

    I think courage and leadership are most important. How can you like someone who is always blaming someone else for all the problems. The president said " THE BUCK STOPS HERE " when he was elected. I guess he has no idea what that means.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  83. Allan Hanson Placerville, ca

    Why should we have to like them.
    The economy is whats important, fix it and people will like you.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  84. Rich in Texas

    Isn't it sad Jack? Both parties have come to a point that they will vote for their party NO MATTER WHAT! Right NOW the economy is the problem. Why don't we fix that FIRST with someone who has a proven track record and then we can vote for the most popular kid. Let's do what's best for the country for a change.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  85. TomInRochNY

    Romney's business experience was making money, not jobs. That's a big distinction. Romney is pro business. We need a president that is pro economy. Obama isn't any better. But at least he doesn't want to throw money at people who already have a lot of money in the vain hope they'll create jobs here in America, instead of using it to just make themselves wealthier.

    Tom, Rochester, NY.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  86. Steve, NY

    It's more important for a President to handle the economy than be likable. Romney is both likable and the one that will fix the economy. Jack, you were only assuming that Obama is more likable. Majority of the people that I talk to don't like Obama. You must talk to different circle of friends. Don't forget Obama won in 2008 not because he was qualified to be president or be likable, he won because people were sick of Bush. The bottom line, Romney is more likable and more likely to fix the economy. Obama had his chance for the last 4 years and he failed. Time for somebody else to take over. Somebody that doesn't lie and is honest.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  87. TomInRochNY

    Can you trust someone to fix the economy if they won't tell you how they amassed their personal fortune year after year for the last ten years?

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    July 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  88. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    Plane and simple Jack. If I don't like a president or a presidential candidate it's very likely I won't like the way that person handles or would handle the economy. Of course there are other factors to consider but the economy is a hugh factor. Drilled into my head from a very early age on was the phrase "You are known by the company you keep." Romney kept Bain, a Corporation with the greedy modus operandi of slash, burn, bankrupt, and then move the company offshore for the sake of their profits alone. Just because it was legal and they used every loophole imaginable doesn't mean it doesn't stink. Another phrase that comes to mind is "Actions speak louder than words." Enough said.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  89. WR Jones

    We elected likable last time around and got clueless, now we look to elect someone who can handle the economy, will it be the "Spender-In-Chief" Barrack Obama or the "Pretender-In-Chief", Mitt Romney?
    It would seem an impossible task this time around to accomplish both, to be successful with the economy some real cuts have to take place, those cuts will not make the next President popular, so to be likable and fix the economy is unlikely to happen.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  90. Burbank

    I find both candidates likeable but I don't trust either of them. They are both nothing but puppets what will say and do anthing to get elected. I'm writing in Hillary, she's more qualified than both of them put together.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  91. coloradom

    Simple: likeable.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  92. Donaldo in ATL


    Can we dumb down the questions any further?? When you were offered a job @ CNN was it because you were likeable or maybe, just maybe, could do a job to help improve the CNN ratings?? Same here, we want a person with the necessary skills to lead this country, likeable or not. Likeable reminds me of when I ran for VP in high school, have we dropped our standards so far, we compare a national campaign to a high school election,?? Please!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  93. Greg Rockford, IL

    Your question is based on the false assumption that Romney can "handle" the economy. If by "handle" you mean slash regulations and lower tax rates, without paying for it by meaninfully reducing spending, then I don't want him "handling" anything. See Bush II. Thus far, Romeny has only offered vague promises and platitudes about getting the economy moving. What we must remember is that Romney's version of getting the economy moving means corporate profits go up and the rich keep getting the tax breaks (i.e. carried interest rules) that they've always gotten.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  94. Dave in WA

    If it's a likeability contest, Mitt Romney is utterly doomed.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  95. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    It is too bad we do not actually hire the President rather than vote him in, then by dealing with him or her as a hiree, after (in this case) Mr. Romney does the most important task of fixing the economy, he can be fired (sorry, downsized) and he will understand as his job would like....be in bain.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  96. Cee.La

    It is the American way to want both, likeable, and fix the economy......Yesterday.......

    July 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  97. Wilder Napalm

    Jack, I'm pretty sure people who are losing everything they have because they can't find a job that will stop the nightmare from happening are going to vote pro business. Most everyone wants to works and have a chance at a better life not a government handout.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  98. McBob

    I think you know the answer Jack. It's why you supported Obama in 08 and why you will again. Lotta shallow people like yourself out there.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  99. frespech

    The proplem Jack as I see it is this, I like Obama- I don't accept that Romney is anymore qualified to turn this economy around than Obama. So should I vote for a guy I like less on the chance that he might get lucky or convince his crony friends to start moving some of the money they have been hoarding for the last 4 years. Maybe.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  100. Deion

    I would have to say the ecomny this is not high school or a popularity contest we need someone who can put us back to work.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  101. Ed in Sacramento, Capitol of the Faulty State of Kalifornia

    Politics is all "PERCEPTION." If voters were concerned about issues they would not be watching mainstream media for enteraintment.....present newscasters excepted 🙂 🙂 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  102. Randy

    Neither, it's more important for a president to uphold the charade of an economy that in secret only works for the rich and corporations. The "likability" and "guy you would have a beer with" questions are distraction for the masses to consume to obfuscate from the real problems neither party is willing to tackle.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  103. Dennis

    Economy Eshmonomy – I want a president I would like to friend on facebook!
    The president is powerless to change anything anyway ...

    July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  104. Larry in Houston

    That's right, the obama campaign Should take Note – also the DNC should take note – I've been saying this for a year and a half now, If Obama gets re-elected, I'll be a monkey's uncle. (even though I'm voting a straight ticket, this means it will only take me about 30 seconds to vote)

    July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  105. Cris in Pennsylvania

    Ultimately, likability is the only thing that really matters. That's why you're still on the air, Jack!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  106. Dezi in CT

    I think romney is a shrewd business man as he'll have us pay for his family's medical needs as he eliminates ours.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  107. Ryan

    If the president is likeable then it will be easier for them to pass legislation and to possibly promote greater bipartisian support and cooperation. You can have a terrific economic policy however it is useless if you can't get Congress to pass the reforms.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  108. David - Augusta, Georgia

    Whoever can get the economy in order is better. They would definitaly not be liked if they keep spending and losing American jobs to China. We need someone who can bring back the good old U.S.A back to its succedding standards!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  109. Margot in Washington

    It is more important to elect a man you can TRUST. Mr. Romney parks his fortune in overseas banks–he doesn't trust American banks for his personal fortune....that is a real problem for me....why should I trust someone like that to protect our economy when he has so little faith in it himself?? Obama may have made mistakes, but I trust his integrity and honor.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  110. patricia from san diego, california

    Not an either/or...I want both and Romney satisfies neither

    July 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  111. Dee in Nebraska

    Who cares if they are likeable or not, the question is are they believable. The Romney group should focus on their image of not being all that believable.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  112. Craig from Pa.

    Everyone called Bill Clinton "Slick Willy", well Romney is slicker....I wouldn't buy a used car from this guy!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  113. Jack McGann

    Just because Mitt Romney has been a successful business man does it means he can fix our economy?

    A successful business man is deemed successful if he makes money for himself and his stockholders. Only a vibrant and competitive business climate will create jobs.

    Business people dislike competition because it limits there potential for profits. They only add jobs as a last resort to make more profit!

    If we want to see America thrive all we have to do is create more competition in the market place. I would suggest by starting with the big banks. If we broke up the 10 biggest banks into 50 smaller banks you would see thousands of jobs created and the consumers benefit because of the new competition.

    Jack McGann

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  114. Jim in Columbus, Ohio

    Romney was the one who cast the President's office as needing a business background. The record is that lawyers usually take the job. So, when contrasting 'likeable' and 'handle the economy', you have to first transfer the setting to a generic president. 'Likeable' is very important for diplomacy with other countries and for representing the US. A business background may help 'handle the economy', but wouldn't a financial planner do much better? Both are important, but neither is the only thing to elect a President on.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  115. John in Canada

    So, why are Americans so sure the GOP can handle the economy better?
    Who did the better job:
    – The GOP who inherited a great economy and destroyed it, or
    – The Dems who inherited a destroyed economy and struggled against a GOP blockade to try to fix it?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  116. John J. Grimes Watertown, Ma.

    I "liked" Mitt Romney enough to vote for him for Governor but I have little trust in a man who claims that he can fix our broken econly without giving us even a hint as to how he will do it. There are too many people in this country who know nothing about Mitt and yet truly believe that he is the answer to their prayers.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  117. JIm Gillett

    I would rather have a President that meets with his Jobs Council at least once in awhile instead of a fundraiser every time he turns around, c'mon Jack,....It is still "the eocnomy stupid"

    Jim in Oklahoma.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  118. Brian

    In the end it is all about results and no window dressing will change that. Everyone would be better off with possitive results from someone they supposedly "don't like" than a bunch of fuzzy feel good rhetoric with no tangible results from someone we supposedly "like".

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  119. Zach M (Boston, MA)

    A president who can fix our economy is far more important than a likable president. However, it is not a given that Romney could fix our economy just because he's had more business experience than President Obama. It's very easy to be a backseat driver and for Republicans to point the finger.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  120. Chad from Omaha, NE

    I feel that the American people have been duped into thinking that Mitt Romney will fix the economy simply because he is wealthy. He has yet to layout any specific policies in regards to his plans to fix the economy, or any other policies for that matter. He should have a very specific plan to show the American people exactly HOW he plans to fix the economy. President Obama is very logical and has specific policy guidelines from the economy to foreign policy, and he is very likable. Obama has a clear vision and well-thought out policies. Romney has vague generalizations, and he's wealthy. That doesn't translate to a better economy. Hands down; Obama wins across the board.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  121. L

    It depends on whether or not the “polls” are being tampered with. Do you actually think that a "popular president" would be so popular if he didn't have any business sense? More likely no, yes?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  122. Bill Kahn

    Liked by whom? Do what about the economy?

    There is little for the Prez to do but set a tone and point the way.

    Romney is a lying tax evader and Obama is the POTUS and should remain so.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  123. sarge

    Dislikeability will lose the election!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  124. Phil, georgia

    BOTH!! And Pres. Obama has proven that he is both. Its common sense that if you think somebody is more trustworthy and honest then he will be the one to most likely due whats in your best interest. On the other hand, through crook and thievery Romney may falsely prop up the economy that only benefits his crony rich friends. Just imagine if President Obama had help from republicans in congress, the unemployment would definitely be down to 7 or 6 percent.....

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  125. Chris Peck

    Are we voting for the President of the United States or the President of a Middle School Student Council? It does not matter how much I "like" a candidate, what matters is how our President will be able to handle the economy. Maybe if Obama promised lollypops and cupcakes for my vote he'd get it.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  126. Douglas Eadie

    It's the economy stupid!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  127. Ryan From MD

    I believe its more important for a president to handle the economy more then be likable, Being likable isn't fixing the unemployment rate, or the growing debt. If a president can handle the economy, he may have a better chance to fix unemployment rate, lower the nation debt. I feel President Obama has done nothing, and he is likable....

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  128. stephen hapke

    Why anyone thinks Romney (Mr look out for the wealthy and cut the hell out of the government, except defense) can fix the economy is beyond me. Trickle down hasn't worked since Reagan tried it and the middle class has declined since then, we need someone to grow the middle class and get money to people who would spend it not put it in a Swiss bank account, I haven't had a new car for 22 years, if I had some money I would be improving the economy because I'd be spending the money

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  129. Jay

    We will vote forbthe person we trust the most and who we believe understands the difficulties and concerns of the average American the most...and the poll you sight says most Americans think that person is Obama.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  130. Julianne/Redwood City, CA

    Well we have seen for the last 4 years what "like-able" has gotten us...In the Corporate world a likable boss would most likely get you laid off because he cares more about his rep, than getting the job done and profiting the corporation. Our current President did not get the job done, and look how many people have been laid off...I think it is time for a President that is savvy in the business world and actually knows what he is talking about in an economic sense. I am sick of living paycheck to paycheck, and every time I adjust, more is taken for a deficit that I did not cause....Hmmmmmm

    July 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  131. Kimberley S. McRitchie

    I am 52 years old. I live in the State of Ohio. I have voted "Republican" since my first trip to the polls. I will not vote "Republican" during this Presidential election because I do not "like" Mitt Romney. Plain and simple!!!!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  132. Neal

    Bottom line: You cant take Obamas smile to the bank. At the end of the day people need jobs to keep this country moving forward. We cannot have more of the same for 4 more years.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  133. Fernando

    Its more important to have a president that knows how to handle the economy. I dont know about obama but it sounds like romney can do the job but it doesnt mean I will vote for him.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  134. Seth M

    Jack I take issue in the wording of your question is it Likeable or is it likeable honest and trustworthy? It comes down to perception. Can Romney handle the economy as well as this poll claims people believe? If not what are we left with? Obama for all his faults has been as upfront to the American people as any president I can remember. His economic policy maybe a bit anemic but the most critical person has to admit the some progress is better than it was before he took over. My vote would be to stay on course and not risk change back to Bush policies.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  135. Bill from Piscataway NJ

    Both are important, however Mitt Romney will only fix the economy for the 1%. He will cut taxes on the rich, privatize Social Security and Medicare, raise the Social Security retirement age, not to mention taking away medical insurance from millions of people covered on "Obamacare", and reversing pollution standards that protect our water and air. Anyone who votes Republican right now is either rich, or stupid. Which one are you?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  136. Mike

    I got it, Jack! Lets keep Obama as President, and make Romney head of some economic committee, and see what happens. Of course we will have to have a watchdog committee just to watch Romney's dealings.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  137. Sarah Middleton, OR

    Romney would be a disaster for the middle class, but big business and Wall Street would love it if he got elected. If you're vision of an improved economy is for the 1%ers to get even richer, then he's your man, who cares if he has the personality of a shoe.
    But if you're in the other 99%, President Obama is the only chance things will get better. The fact that he is a "nice guy" is just icing on the cake.
    Btw, Barack is a much better vocalist too.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  138. Jim Charlotte NC

    If you have a job you will vote for the likeable President. If you have money that will be Romney but if you have little that will be Obama. If you have no job you will still vote for the one who lies the best.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  139. Marc in Toronto


    The Devil you know is often better than the one you don't know.

    We really don't know who Romney is because he won't tell us or be straight with us or provide us with any documentation that can shed light on his character or accomplishments. By the way you worded your question it seems that not even you gives the President credit from keeping your economy from sinking into the abyss all while dealing with a Republican group in Congress that have no interest in helping the President expedite the recovery.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  140. Frank W.

    The people will vote on who they like in November. Remember, we dont remember the past because it's what got us in this mess. We only think about what's directly in front of us and how come it's taking so long to fix something that took 20 years to create. By November, most people will flip-flopped their decision a few times over up to election day and whoever has the strongest ads from November 1 till election day will win the public. Sad enough to say, its the electoral college who will pick the president though...lol

    July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  141. Mark from Boston


    Is this a trick question, or are Americans really this shallow? Whoever's able to handle the economy WILL BE likable?
    Problem is, NEITHER of the two will be able to. The "I pick things up and put them down" jobs are gone forever. Even though we know this, we choose NOT to invest in education. It's akin to the Top High School Football recruit choosing to go to Penn State.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  142. betty from massachusetts

    mitt romney has both qualities but definately the economy reigns. if the economy goes down so does likeability if te press treated both candidates fairly romney will win by a landslide

    July 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  143. Nina Fox

    I could care less about being likable. I am more interested in trying to reverse the economic catastrophe the US has taken. In listening to Romney’s speech today, it is very blatant that he desires war with his saber rattling flamboyant display of military power threats that would push his deeply invested Keystone XL pipeline in the forefront of American agenda costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. When will Romney and Americans understand there is more than one way to take over a country? War invasion would be one, and economic collapse, (bankruptcy) would be the other.

    ~Nina in Southern California

    July 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  144. Matt

    The economy SHOULD be more important, Jack – but look at how Americans are essentially trained to vote. Many are exposed to "voting" for the first time in high school – for the class president, nothing more than a popularity contest. Then Americans become consumers, essentially "voting" for the product they like best through their purchases. We ignore our own best interests by going on the likeable surface of a person or product, and care not a whit for the substance.
    Saint Augustine, Fl

    July 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  145. Larry in Houston

    maybe when or if Romney is elected, he can do to this country what he would have done regarding GM, if he was president. Maybe he can declare some type of National ""managed" Bankruptcy. ( wonder how that will go )

    July 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  146. Valerie In Raleigh

    Both are important. I see the President as good men of the middle class who truly understands our situation. I see Gov. Romney, a good man, who has been abundently rich his entire life and has no idea what is like to not be able to pay your rent or purchase groceries. Had the Republicans worked with the President, our situation would be so much better today. Their one goal was to make him fail knowing fully that, if he fails, the county fails. I can not vote for any Tea Partier or Republican who purposesly hurts this county.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  147. Name*jim

    Obama has a vision where he can direct govt spending toward his constituents; ie. unions and social programs, to increase dependentcy on the govt. if one wants the govt to pick the winners and losers in our society, instead of people following their own dreams and working for their own success, we will end up being a third class nation with no military and no future.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  148. Jack Krueger

    Here's my problem with single-issue candidates and elections: If the person in question becomes President of the United States of America and is able to fulfill his main promise, then what? Romney may be better at the job of trying to fix the economy, but even if you disregard his shaky stump speeches he is still too unlikeable when it comes to many social issues - and social issues can be taken a little too personally by too many people. We don't need someone who simply just able to fix the economy and we don't need someone who is simply more likable. We need someone who is well rounded.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  149. Carolyn

    Jack, I'm a democrat and voted for Obama in 08' but as intelligent and compassionate he might be, he is too much a people pleaser and doesn't want to make waves when it comes to confrontation or decision making. Romney will make the necessary decisions, not worrying about appeasing others to get the country back on track, in my opinion.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  150. Ethan from North Carolina

    Jack I believe being able to handle the economy is better but if you can handle it and be likeable then it's the best of both worlds.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  151. Ray

    well jack why you don't ask is more important to be president fix the economy or be trustworthy because mitt is not (he got so many secret-tax return-bank account oversee etc) a president must be trustworthy and with his action show he love his country not putting his money oversees.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  152. Jason (Lebanon, PA)

    You can be likable by handling the economy. President Obama will asure it during his 2nd term.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  153. June

    Likeability is vastly overrated. I want someone who can get the job done. He doen't have to have a beer with me or "identify" with me. Just get the job done. I don't know anymore about community organizing than I do about venture capitalism and I don't want to know more. I just want our President to be able to do the job.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  154. Mysterious

    The GOP broke the economy, stands in the way of President Obama's efforts to repair their damage, and Romney wants to use the same formula.

    President Obama saved us from the Third Depression . He can get us out of the economy that it took eight years to get us into.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  155. Richard

    Presidential candidates are expected to know the essentials of their jobs especially important functions such as dealing with the many issues of the economy, healthcare, unemployment, etc etc.We may not all agree with the methods by which each candidate goes about their jobs but nonetheless each will do this job the way they think it should be done. But at the end of the day weather we agree if the approach was right or wrong the things we remember are things like can I trust this person? Did this person make me feel important? Do I feel like my voice was heard? Do I like this person? So I think the likeability is factor is a huge advantage and that by being able to feel connected to a candidate..."liking them" we are able to trust that our voices and opinions will be heard through them.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  156. Holly in San Diego

    "Likable" means so little to the jobless, homeless, and the hungry.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  157. LIP

    If we go back to the last election, President Obama smiled a lot and did a lot of glad handing and then after the last election, everything went from mister nice guy to not so nice. Now it is election time, and President Obama has dug out the old smile and pasted it on his face and here we go again, mister likeable. So, yes, it is better to be likeable about this time. The difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney, is that Mitt Romney is genuienly likeable.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  158. Victor

    It's more important for a president to be able to handle the economy. That does not mean that Romney is better suited at handling the economy over President Obama and the Gallup poll doesn't make this implication, you did. According to those polled, Obama is more likable than Romney and better understands peoples' economic needs but the Gallup poll does not say that people feel Romney is better suited to handle the economy. Is it possible for a candidate to be both more likable and more capable of handling the economy? You betcha.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  159. Frank T

    Jack, Romney has no clue on any issues. He has two objectives if he gets elected{He doesn't have a snow ball chance in heck in getting elected} His first objective is to make sure the top 1.0% still get their tax breaks. The second is he is a "War Monger" in wanting to go to war with Iran. He was a blatant Draft Dogger and doesn't even know how to shoot a gun. Romney wants to go to War with Iran and he wants to do it he is willing to essentually buy the right wing repubs who will do it.Romney the War Monger now claiming that his five sons will NEVER serve in the War that he creates.Romney as a capital investor is an expert at BREAKING businesses apart and reaping the economic value out of them for his own private gain and the gain of a group of elite investors.Romney would NEVER have made it in business if daddy didn't give him the money. No one this dishonest couldn't survive in business.The Mitt is a real kind guy he will walk a blind man into a closed door.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  160. Michael F. Laughlin

    What a trick question. There is more to being President then one issue. The question should have been: Is it more important for a President to be competent in all area's of Head of State or is it better to go back to "Trickle down Economics"?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  161. Brian

    The press really loves to push the premise that Romney is not likeable. The problem is that only the press who has vested their future in Obama from day one and the extreme left think Obama is likeable. He seems like an arrogant, narcissitic, no results, failure to at least half of the country... You know, the half the media doesn't poll, listen to, or report on.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  162. Evelyn in Utah

    You must be in the top 1 % to even consider Romney .Forget that arrogant jerk. Trickle down economics do not work ,we tried that already. We need to get to give the House back to the Democrats and send the cry babies running it now home.Romney and the rest of the Repugs will destroy this country all in the name of greed.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  163. Mountain Man

    Romney will do more policy-wise, and act more quickly, than Obama. It's that simple. We cannot afford another 4 years of stalemating and other "Beltway madness". Romney's astoundingly successful business background is of course a bonus given the current state of our union. If people vote sensibly in November, then a smart man named Mitt shall effect the necessary changes to restore our prosperity come January.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  164. William

    Integrity is the issue most people look to when selecting a President. Mitt Romney's refusal to release his Tax Returns, his money in other countries to avoid paying US taxes, his outsourcing jobs while Governor, and now finding out he had Olympic Record destroyed (and why? – what is he covering up). There seem to be more questions than answers. As Newt Gingerich and Rick Santorum said the man has no integrity, ethics, and they accused him of lying! Why would anyone want this man running the country? – unless they miss the days of Watergate!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  165. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, the president doesn't necessarily have to be likable, but he should have at least an appearance of character, which Romney doesn't have. He repeatedly gives the impression that he is hiding something. I don't think we can take the chance of waiting until after the election to find out what that is.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  166. Marc from New Brunswick

    It honnestly doesnt matter wether or not either or the candidates know anything about the economy jack. Cause the american public will not allow enough time to see the results of the changes they make. I have rarely seen any major creative approach or solution to any economic problem produce an instant turn around. That being said, giving Obama one term considering the size of the economic turmoil he inherited would be premature. The American People are addicted to a lifestyle that will keep them in the hole they have created for themselves unless they learn to live within their means. This is not OBAMA's fault...and it wont be any futur presidents fault if you keep with the microwave mentality.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  167. Jummy From Ohio

    A president should be likable because in time of National disaster the President is the friend to the victims to offer national condolence on behave of the nation. The problem of Obama with the economy is that the size of the Republicans in congress is too large and should be reduced considerable. The Republicans are a big problem for this President and the nation.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  168. Jon in Rochester


    Normally, I would say the economy however nobody realistically has a plan that would work to fix it in these politically charged times.

    Romney's ideas for fixing the economy appear to be more of the same trickledown economics that got us in trouble in the first place. You can’t fix the economy without dealing with the debt and you can’t deal with the debt without making cuts AND increasing revenue. If Romney got elected and the Democrats in congress decided that their main mission from the start was to keep him from getting a second term like the GOP did to Obama, then I'm sure that Romney wouldn't be able to fix the economy either no matter what he tried to do. Did you hear about the Obama job bill that was supposed to give incentives to companies that bring jobs back to the US? The GOP killed it in the house this week!

    I’m afraid that the GOP set the new low bar that may be the new norm of a congress whose main focus is not the people that they serve but sabotaging the president from the other party. Hopefully, we can get passed this political bickering and put the nation’s future first. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  169. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    I believe it more important for a president to be able to handle the economic roller-coaster, than be likable. Mitt Romney could be the nicest, most caring guy you'd ever wanna meet.....but that's only after you remove politics, his business record, and his poor singing voice. Obama is both more or less likable and has been doing his best trying to deal with the economy.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  170. Jeff in Minnesota

    Likeable is nice, but we need to make some tough decisions and whomever is elected will probably end up not being liked by a lot of people for those decisions.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  171. Doug-Dallas

    The biggest problem Romney has is he has no plan on what to do. He's going to go with the standard Republican plan that got us into this mess in the first place. He's probably a nice guy, but he can't relate to anyone who isn't in the 7 figure income club and why is he so afraid to be honest with the voters?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  172. CalDude

    Right now I like Romney more because the economy stinks and getting stinkier.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  173. Kevin in CA

    The answer defaults to "Likable" since the economy will not improve until the middle class in China equals the middle class in America.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  174. Bookenz

    Improve the economy for WHO? I have no doubt that Romney will improve it for the very wealthy.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  175. Dennis from Millbrae, CA

    The questioned posed is one of aniticipation rather than looking back at what a President did (or didn't do) in office. I think both President Obama and Mitt Romney are likeable, but because this isn't a race for high school Student Body President, I hope people will vote based on the specifics of what the candidates say they will do. In that case, we know very little about Romney's finances ann even less about the specifics of what he would do about the economy or foreign policy.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  176. Jo

    Any chance Poland can keep Romney,I don't like him, so I guess it does matter.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  177. George from Tampa

    I understand Nero was a real nice guy, played a pretty good fiddle.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  178. Erich

    We need to elect a president who will take the debt crisis more seriously than we've seen in the last two administrations. Our present politicians seem to be satisfied riding the pony all the way to the end of the trail like we've seen in Europe. I'm still waiting for either candidate to specifically plot out a course for debt reduction, but so far it's all talk and no action.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  179. Mary - Oklahoma City

    FIrst of all, the president cannot fix the economy. He can only suggest policy.

    Mitt Romney's speech was a declaration to a return to the old American position of neighborhood bully, a belief that America has the God-given right to control the rest of the world by any means that it chooses. I resent this attitude, and I am tired of seeing my country viewed as a rogue state by the rest of the world.

    I am so grateful for President Obama's respect for international law and protocol, his respect for the rights of other nations to choose their own governments and make their own laws. It is the old Golden Rule and so far it seems to be working. Since Obama has been in office we have had more incidents of domestic terrorism than international terrorism. I will choiowse the statesman over the bully anytime.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  180. Mary

    President Obama has had an uphill battle not just with dealing with the economy but with republicans who would prefer to spend all of their time ensuring that Obama is a one term president rather than doing their jobs! I see Obama as likable and one who saved not just our country but the WORLD from a depression.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  181. Ruth

    Please! Romney comes off as nothing more than a used car salesman. He touts himself as the economic savior, but what has he done? Laid off American workers, shipped jobs overseas (along with his money) & refuses to release multiple years of tax returns! He flip flops on every key issue out there. How can anyone claim to know where he stands when he doesn't even know?! No thanks! He opens his mouth & I'm disgusted! I'll take Pres Obama for another four years. Simply put, I trust him. He's a leader & is able to relate to the average person. Mitt Whit...I'm not feeling it!

    July 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  182. JB from Nashville

    " Like able" isn't personal. How could any reasonable thinking person " like" a President who has caused an economic disaster...and, either, doesn't know it or won't admit

    July 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  183. Earl Speigner Georgia

    Romney fails at both. His awkward 1950ishness and sense of entitlement turns people off—even when he's on camera. His retread of failed Republican economic policies offers more of the things that stifled middle-class wage growth and allowed the white collar criminality that lead to the recession. Judging by either standard, the choice is clear.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  184. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    President Obama is likeable because I don't like Romney and I haven't heard his plan for the economy so that too makes him unlikeable.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  185. Michael in Los Angeles

    Give me a President who doesn't support tax evaders overseas. How is that going to help the economy? I would rather have Obama who is still reeling from cleaning up after the last Republican presidency.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  186. Jack

    I don't like either of them, but if I could find work I would vote for that candidate, it's sad as an IT guy McD's didn't want to hire me because they are afraid I wouldn't be happy working in a lower paying job....feeding my kids come before me liking the President,.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  187. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Aw shucks, ah want me a likable guy, who cares if the country goes to hell in a hand basket, so long as you can have a beer with him – like Bush.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  188. NJ from Michigan

    If Romney is elected, no one will have any money. As for Bain, he's guilty. As for his income tax returns, I still want to see 'em. What is Romney hiding?

    July 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  189. thom richer

    It would be so uplifting if we chose a president for their abilities and competency rather than popularity. However we are now a celebrity driven society and popularity is our priority. If it wasn't, color would never be mentioned or even thought of. Most of Obama's lack of "popularity" is simply because he is Black and not what he has accomplished. Sad. Very sad.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    July 24, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  190. Don Gwynne

    It is not the President who creates jobs. Businesses and financiers do; and they have reneged on the job.

    Our economy was better when businesses thought in terms of creating value, rather than redirecting money.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  191. Dave, Orlando, FL

    This question is academic. Obama obviously can’t handle this economic mess, and it is people like Romney who helped create this economic mess by firing people (which he likes to do) and making a bundle for himself. It’s lose-lose either way for us down here in what used to be the middle – before Romney and his ilk gutted it.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  192. NJ from Michigan

    I like Romney, but I don't know or care if he is a likable guy. Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain Bain

    July 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |