MINY OR MOE?
On Nov. 4, voters will choose “the lesser of two evils” to become president of the United States.
“This is a battle to become the lesser of two evils, rather than the best of the bunch,” says Washington political pollster Frank Luntz, who in a memo obtained by Inside the Beltway on Aug. 25 writes that so-called floating, or undecided voters, “have huge hang-ups with both candidates,” albeit for different reasons.
“Obama’s weakness is his lack of definition and the fear that he really doesn’t have any answers,” Mr. Luntz says of Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama, while Republican Sen. John McCain’s “weakness is a fear that his answers are too closely aligned with President Bush.”
His memo comes on the heels of a political dial session that Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research conducted Aug. 24 on behalf of AARP.
“I have done roughly 500 political dial sessions in the past 10 years — most of them with floating voters. In that time, I’ve seen them break for one candidate or another based on ads, debates, interviews and other stimuli. But never have I seen them divide unanimously in favor of one attribute over another,” Mr. Luntz says in the memo.
“We hear about ‘change,’ ‘change,’ ‘change,’ Well, there’s one attribute more important than change. Accountability trumps change.”
The dial session, conducted in Denver, gave respondents 30 different attributes to rate in importance. Not only did accountability come in first, but it outranked ‘change’ in importance to 20 of the 21 participants. By comparison, ‘agrees with me on the issues’ was chosen by just one person.
Says Mr. Luntz: “The candidate who can capture the audience’s perceptions of accountability will win. Period.”