The politics of personality have always been a huge part of any presidential debate. In 2004, the question, “Which candidate would you rather get a beer with?” was introduced into the lexicon of public opinion data, almost mandating that the general public could somehow relate to you as they would a colleague if you were going to seek public office. But this isn’t always ideal for someone taking on one of the world’s most responsible leadership positions; even George Washington wouldn’t have been a successful president if the public hadn’t seen him as a superhuman beacon of tree-chopping, redcoat-killing truth.
But a lot has changed his Washington wrote tiny updates about his day on small pieces of paper that little blue birds would disseminate to all of his followers. Now, it’s easier than ever to gauge public opinion and it’s also easier than ever to find out exactly what voters think about basically everything. A personality test on Slate recently took personality politics to a new level with their Slate/SurveyMonkey Political Survey, which asked participants to choose the candidates not on political issues, but on personal ones.
Unsurprisingly, more people thought Barack Obama was both “book smart” and “street smart” than Mitt Romney, by a margin of almost 30%. It was a little more of a surprise that those surveyed actually preferred a street smart president to a book smart one. The survey found that people generally found Barack Obama to be more honest (not a hard one to predict), and also found that people would prefer Barack Obama as a babysitter, and would also get help changing a flat from the president than Romney.
So what does it all mean? Basically, Obama is a lot more likeable than Mitt Romney in almost every scenario. It may not be enough to help him win re-election, but it’s still a piece in the campaign season puzzle.