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January 10, 2014

Republicans and the Empathy Gap

Charlie Cook: "In the last election, when people were asked to choose which quality mattered the most in deciding how they voted for president, the top choice was 'has a vision for the future' at 29 percent, followed by 'shares my values' at 27 percent. Coming in third was 'cares about people like me' at 21 percent, and, in fourth place, 'is a strong leader' at 18 percent. Romney scored higher on three out of four of these qualities. Those choosing 'shares my values' voted 55 percent for Romney and 42 percent for Obama. Those who picked 'is a strong leader' as a key quality in their president sided for Romney, 61 percent to 38 percent. Those who said 'has a vision for the future' went 54 percent for Romney, 45 percent for Obama."

"Looking at these numbers, one might assume Romney won the election. However, among the one in five voters for whom 'cares about people like me' was most important, Obama won 81 percent to 18 percent. That is a jaw-dropping finding as Republicans search for the answer to the question, 'Why did we lose?' Republicans need to think about these results as they decide how to position their party for 2014 and 2016, lest they watch this empathy gap cost them another winnable election."


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