Thursday, January 24, 2008

Americans Prefer Tested Leader to Inspiring One

New survey data indicate that public opinion prefers a tested leader to an inspirational one, the Gallup Poll reports:

Americans say being inspiring is an important presidential quality, but when forced to choose, they would rather see a president elected in 2008 who is a tested leader, but not inspirational, than a candidate who is inspiring but not a tested leader. Most Republicans opt for electing a tested leader, while Democrats are evenly divided. Among the four leading Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama is most often rated as being inspirational, while John McCain is the runaway leader for tested leadership.

The Jan. 10-13 poll finds that 71% of Americans say it is "very important" for a president to be inspiring; an additional 23% say it is "somewhat important." Similar percentages of Republicans, independents, and Democrats believe it is important to have an inspirational president.

Even though Americans value having an inspiring president, they give higher priority to a leader who has been tested when asked to choose between two hypothetical candidates as defined by these two dimensions. Fifty-two percent of Americans say they would prefer the 2008 presidential election winner to be "a candidate who is a tested leader but who is not that inspiring" while 43% say it would be better to elect "a candidate who is inspiring but who has not been tested as a leader."

Republicans show a strong inclination toward a tested leader: 60% think this is more important for the next president than being inspiring, while 33% think the opposite. Democrats are evenly divided, with 49% preferring an inspirational leader and 49% preferring a tested one. Independents show a slight preference for a tested leader.
I frankly see the leadership test as one of the most powerful reasons for conservatives to rally to the McCain banner.

Iraq now is increasingly pacified, but there's national security challenges around the corner; and at home Americans need a leader with proven ability to hold the line on special interest demands for earmark extravaganzas and multicultural munificence.

That man is Senator John McCain. The public says so, and I hope partisan conservatives will soon recognize the facts on the ground in the American heartland.