Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mysterious Character

The result of this poll is a sad truth that I long ago made my peace with -- voters care more about a candidate's character than the candidate's issue positions, and least of all about experience and other leadership qualities. Character, unfortunately, is something that voters are in a very weak position to judge. Our information about the personal qualities of candidates is subject to much more media distortion than our information about the candidates' issue positions. For the latter, we have more hard data to fall back on. But getting yourself portrayed as a person of honesty and integrity is largely a matter of being able to effectively manipulate the more touchy-feely side of media coverage. Being a difficult target for negative ads, which is quite far from being a good person, helps too.

1 comment:

Ed said...

This is my only real reservation about Edwards, incidentally. So far the media have reflected largely positively on his character, but from my anectdotal observations it seems that there's a large and diverse population that thinks he's extremely phony-seeming. Some part of me is very worried that if this gets played up it could be bad for him.