Douglas MacKinnon compares and contrasts two hypothetical candidates for the White House:
Over the last few weeks, I ran a very basic resume poll. I knew the only way this poll would work would be to talk to people outside of the egotistical, out-of-touch bubble that is our nation’s capital. To get an honest reaction, I’d have to talk with average Americans who are more concerned about real life and the welfare of their families, than the names, education, wealth, or accomplishments of those who seek their support.
My premise was very simple. You have two people who are being considered to run your county, head up your local school board and manage your police force. Based on the background and experience listed below, who would you choose?
Candidate A: Middle-aged. Studied overseas. Attended two different colleges in the U.S. before getting a degree. Went on to get a law degree. Worked community affairs in his adopted home city. Was elected to local office. Served in local politics for just over six years. Got elected to a federal state-wide office. Has one real year of experience in that job.
Candidate B: Middle-aged. Went to college and got a degree. Served in the National Guard for six years. Became a sergeant. While in the National Guard, earned a law degree. Became an investigator for a consumer-protection division. Was elected to a federal office. Was re-elected to a federal office. Was elected to a federal statewide office. Was re-elected to a federal state-wide office. Served in the executive branch for four years.
Either in person or over the phone, I showed or recited exactly as written above, the background of these two candidates to voters who don’t follow politics very closely. I ended up speaking with twenty different people from diverse backgrounds.
To be sure, some of those I spoke with rightfully said, “In reality, I’d need to know a lot more than you’re giving me.” Accepting that caveat, all 20 people picked Candidate B. Candidate B is Dan Quayle.
Candidate A is Barack Obama.
MacKinnon writes, “The final poll will be taken on Nov. 4. Most of the people won’t be fooled.” Maybe–but unforced errors along the way such as this aren’t helping Candidate A’s opponent gain traction.