The jury’s still out on which candidate Americans want to see run the White House next year, but there is evidence that some of them would rather see President Obama dance, camp or dine.
Obama takes the cake on “likability” questions such as which candidate voters would rather see as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” according to an ABC-Washington Post poll released today. Only a quarter of the registered voters surveyed wants to see Mitt Romney shimmy and shake on the ABC reality-TV show, but more than half want Obama to try his hand at competitive ballroom dancing.
Respondents named Obama as their preferred camping buddy by a 14 percentage-point margin and 46 percent of registered voters would rather listen to the president’s playlist, compared to the 30 percent who prefer Romney’s.
Romney’s iPod is a mix of oldie hits such as the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations,” country artists like Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, and pop tunes like The Killers’ “Read My Mind,” according to a playlist the GOP candidate released in March.
If Obama’s official campaign soundtrack is any guide, his playlist runs the gamut from Aretha Franklin to Arcade Fire and will be chock-full of his entertainment endorsers such as James Taylor and No Doubt.
On the food front, the voters said they would rather sit down to dinner with the president than with his GOP rival. Fifty-four percent of registered voters picked Obama as their preferred dinner guest, while 32 percent said they would rather share a meal with Romney.
But when voters take a night out, they put equal trust in Obama and Romney to babysit their kids. Voters were split evenly split at 41 percent on which presidential hopeful would be their preferred babysitter, according to the ABC-Washington Post poll.
Voters were nearly as evenly split a month ago on which candidate they would want to captain their ship through a storm, with 46 percent picking Obama and 43 percent choosing Romney. That gap has since widened in Obama’s favor. More than half the electorate – 52 percent – now say they would prefer Obama as the captain while only four in 10 voters would opt for a Capt. Romney.
Although the poll questions veer toward the silly side, they help to explain an underlying and important aspect of voter preference: likability. On that measure, more than twice as many voters pick Obama over Romney, with 62 percent of voters saying the president seems more “friendly and likable.”
But as ABC News’ polling guru Gary Langer points out, empathy, not likability, is what wins elections. And while Obama is still ahead when voters are asked which candidate “better understands America’s economic problems,” Romney is only 13 percentage points behind on that measure.