GOP 2008: Was McCain's biography tour a bust? [Karl]
Having touched on the different ways of sampling public opinion this morning, it was a happy coincidence to find results from the latest Gallup Panel survey, which asked respondents to describe in their own words “what comes to mind” when they think of the three leading presidential candidates.Ã‚Â
The results regarding all three are interesting in their own ways, but I am focused on John McCain here becauseÃ‚Â a similar February 28, 2008 Pew poll showed that voters most commonly described the presumptive GOP nominee as “old,” with Ã¢â‚¬Å“veteranÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“P.O.W.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â not making the list.Ã‚Â McCain’s recent “biography tour” seemed designed to re-introduce him to voters, so does the new Gallup dataÃ‚Â show Maverick making any progress on the image front?
The current data show that the most commonly mentioned characteristics about McCain are that he is “too old,” that he is a “good man”/”likable,” that he would give the country more of the same/be another George W. Bush, that he had a good military background, and basic dislike of him.
The full results show that the number of people whoÃ‚Â volunteer his military background may have slipped since 2006.Ã‚Â Perhaps the best that can be said about these results would be that none of the impressions offered by adults (as opposed to registered or likely voters) was particularly strong, leaving McCainÃ‚Â more opportunity to make a good impression.
Johnny Mac can feel a bit better about Gallup’s most recent traditional polling on the issue, which shows 66% of adults consider him to be a war hero when asked about his military service.Ã‚Â Moreover, Rasmussen reports that likely voters trust John McCainÃ‚Â more than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on most key electoral issues.
Nevertheless, the open-ended answers on McCain’s image suggest that his campaign staff’s weaknesses in staging events is contributing toÃ‚Â his campaignÃ‚Â getting drowned out by the coverage of the Democratic cage match.Ã‚Â For a candidate seemingly headed toward public
welfare financing and a greater reliance on free or “earned” media, McCain needs to whip his organization into shape.Ã‚Â Whether McCain is capable of doing that remains to be seen.