2012 Tuesday: A quiz, and something puzzling about Romney

During election season, political websites will occasionally steal a page from magazines like Cosmo and offer multiple-choice quizzes to help you find your perfect match. The latest one, from Reason.com, is even titled, “Find Your True Love! A quiz to match you to your perfect sweetheart GOP presidential candidate,” and puts a heart-shaped frame around your supposed poli-soul mate at the end.

It goes without saying, of course, that these things are HIGHLY unscientific and fraught with selection bias. Someone at Reason had to choose the statements representing each candidate for each of the nine topics, and there’s bound to be a perspective at play — in this case, a libertarian one. Still, I found my results instructive about the election, in an unexpected way.

My match was, to my surprise, Herman Cain. (I should say that I probably would have been surprised regardless of the result, given that I’m far from making up my mind about the candidates.) The quiz doesn’t tell you which of your chosen statements belong to which candidate, so I had to look at each of the eight profiles — including, for some reason, non-candidate Sarah Palin — and then do a little extra Googling to figure it out.

I found that I’d picked three of Herman Cain’s statements out of the nine topics, and no more than one statement by any other candidate. I’ll spare you the SAT-style reasoning (”If there are nine questions, and eight candidates, and one of the candidates is chosen three times…”) and reveal that those facts mean I didn’t pick a single statement by one particular candidate.

And his name is Mitt Romney.

The topics were wide-ranging: government spending, economic policy, foreign policy, drug war, personal freedom, immigration, education, energy and religion. Somehow, even the likes of Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman found a way to be most appealing to me once. But Romney, still the betting man’s favorite to win the nomination, did not.

I agreed with most of his statements, and only outright disagreed with one or two. I didn’t attempt to rank the statements and come up with some kind of score for each candidate — by the time I thought about it, I already knew the speaker of pretty much each statement, and so the blind-taste-test aspect of the quiz was gone. I’m pretty certain, though, that Romney wouldn’t have finished even close to eighth out of eight.

While I certainly won’t suggest that my results will mirror those of every other conservative, here’s what I do think is true: A lot of conservatives and GOP voters feel essentially the same way about Romney.

They don’t dislike the guy. They don’t find him particularly objectionable, except on perhaps one or two issues.

On the whole, in fact, he may well come closest to representing the majority/plurality of views for the majority/plurality of them. But, for many conservatives or right-leaning independents, he isn’t the No. 1 GOP spokesman on any one issue.

There have been several reasons given for Romney’s inability to pull away from the field and the other candidates’ inability to sink him: Romneycare, his past flip-flops and so on. But we knew about all that before this race began. And yet here is Romney, almost at the one-year-to-go mark: still pulling, on average, between one-sixth and one-fourth of the GOP primary vote in opinion polls…better even in his worst showings than most of the other candidates have been at their best…but unable to salt it away as of yet.

There’s still time to go, and most GOP primary voters haven’t made up their minds — except to know they’ll eventually vote for Anyone But Obama. But as of today, Romney’s best shot seems not to become Mr. Great, just Mr. Good Enough; not Mr. Right, maybe just Mr. Right Now.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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105 comments Add your comment

Pat

October 18th, 2011
12:00 pm

Plain Truther

October 18th, 2011
12:09 pm

So do you “heart” these statements Kyle?????

“New analysis finds 9-9-9 plan would raise taxes for most”

If Herrman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan were in effect today, the poorest 60% of taxpayers would pay an extra $2,000 while the richest one percent would get a $210,000 break, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice.

Another analysis by Edward D. Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California, estimated that a family with wage income of $120,000 in 2010 would have paid about $541 less under Cain’s plan, while a family that earned $50,000 would have paid about $4,800 more.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/la-pn-999-would-raise-taxes-20111018,0,5048555.story

Kyle Wingfield

October 18th, 2011
12:15 pm

Plain Truther: Obviously, to work as a “blind taste test,” the statements were (for the most part) a lot less specific than to include 9-9-9. That said, the criticism that 9-9-9 is regressive is becoming more widespread. If Cain is going to win, he’s going to have to explain why people at all income levels will benefit from the plan.

He’s made a good start by explaining the sales tax would replace a lot of other taxes that are currently embedded in the cost of goods. But I doubt that alone will quiet the criticism, even from those who aren’t just trying to sink a conservative candidate.

Kyle Wingfield

October 18th, 2011
12:22 pm

Or “arguing” the sales tax would replace those embedded taxes, I should say.

Darwin

October 18th, 2011
12:22 pm

Hey Kyle – is one of the statements you picked is that the earth is flat?

Uncle Jed

October 18th, 2011
12:27 pm

I picked the statement — Darwin, a blogger on AJC, posts stupid statements

JDW

October 18th, 2011
12:33 pm

Kind of hard to believe Kyle, especially given that at one time or another Mitt has been on both sides of most issues. :lol:

Seamus Romney

October 18th, 2011
12:37 pm

Were any questions written by the ASPCA?

Jefferson

October 18th, 2011
12:41 pm

Truth is the GOP flock knows deep down they don’t want Cain, and they know why.

@@

October 18th, 2011
12:42 pm

I was so afraid I’d end up with Romney, but lo and behold…

I came up a Cain supporter. No shame in that…no shame at all. Why accept mediocre when there are exceptions “to the rule.”

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 18th, 2011
12:48 pm

Jefferson won’t say what he really thinks, because he can’t back it up.

Jefferson: Bigot.

Lil' Barry Blowhard (Revised Upward)

October 18th, 2011
12:53 pm

Is it because he will raise your taxes?

@@

October 18th, 2011
12:59 pm

Jefferson:

I want Cain, not BECAUSE he’s black. I’m not “that dim”.

I want him for his bold ideas. Bold & Black trumps Bumbling & Black. I’m tired of the status quo.

Drew

October 18th, 2011
1:01 pm

As a Georgia voter, I don’t feel any need to (completely) make up my mind until the moment I walk up the voting machine next March. The problem is, the media and its punditry, fed by the hysterical need to front-load all these primaries and caucuses, will have the race settled by February… a full SEVEN MONTHS before the conventions. It’s just ludicrous.

Jefferson

October 18th, 2011
1:03 pm

I don’t like Cain because his 999 plan shows his lack of compassion for low income or retired people. Why won’t the GOP support him ? Why do they keep looking for someone else ? Tell us.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 18th, 2011
1:06 pm

@@: I’m tired of the status quo.
——————-

Right on. Is BO still advocating change? Let’s deliver some.

Lil' Barry Blowhard (Revised Upward)

October 18th, 2011
1:08 pm

Or is it because you are willing to pay a little more in taxes as long as he sticks it to the poor and low income families?

Jefferson

October 18th, 2011
1:10 pm

The island of misfit toys, the GOP wanna bees.

@@

October 18th, 2011
1:11 pm

Cain Said: “I do not try to use race to my advantage. I don’t even bring it up unless somebody asks me about it, and I have said repeatedly, this is not about color. This is about the content of your ideas, and your character.”

While democrats were “nodding off” to MLK, Cain took his (MLK’s) dream and turned it into a reality. What’s not to like? What’s not to admire? What’s not to support?

He’s a doer, not a yacker.

Rubes never get it

October 18th, 2011
1:15 pm

Romney or Huntsman are the only candidates who would begin to attract Independents. Today’s GOP would label Nixon and Reagan as Liberals. The conservative party has been high jacked by the extremists and religious nuts and unless they take a serious turn to the middle you will loose again.

Oh, and try offering up candidates with solid educations and verbal skills

Jefferson

October 18th, 2011
1:15 pm

He will become or is a puppet to whoever will give him the money he lacks to run a competitive race.

I'm just sayin'

October 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

If the designer of the quiz was really any good, he would have had you rank the statements in the first place. Then he would have told you that the best candidate was the one with the best overall fit, not just the one you agreed with more times. It might not have changed the results, but at least it would have been a more accurate match.

@@

October 18th, 2011
1:18 pm

Barry:

Is BO still advocating change?

Who the heck knows? He’s all over the place!!!!

Read where he said CLASS would not be repealed. THAT, after Sebelius said it was a no-go. Not only is he (Obama) out of touch with Americans, there doesn’t appear to be any direct contact between him and his administration. How can anything get accomplished with so much confusion…mixed messages and the like.

I often wonder if his goal is to keep everyone confused. If that’s the case, he’ll soon find out it hasn’t worked. Americans are looking for a sense of certainty. Obama ain’t delivering.

@@

October 18th, 2011
1:22 pm

verbal skills!!??!!

Words, just words. That’s what Obama delivered…pretty words with no substance.

I’m outta here.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 18th, 2011
1:22 pm

Oh, and try offering up candidates with solid educations and verbal skills
———————-

Columbia University. Harvard Law.

Nine percent unemployment. Annual $1+ trillion deficits. Record high numbers on welfare. Record low percentage working.

Rubes never get it

October 18th, 2011
1:22 pm

Mitch McConnell has made good on his statement that the number one priority in the GOP is to bring down Obama, not the Average America’s job, well being or health.

And the Rubes still believe the GOP, but then they don’t believe in evolution either. Just silly 2000 year old fairy tales

@@

October 18th, 2011
1:25 pm

To be honest, I’ve watched Romney AND Huntsman. Both stammer and stutter.

If you wanna talk verbal skills, Gingrich blows ‘em all away. He and Herman deliver more directly and concisely than do any of the other candidates.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 18th, 2011
1:25 pm

Bringing down Obozo IS the best jobs program, and it will cost nothing.

mike

October 18th, 2011
1:27 pm

Lets see Mr Cain overall leading in the polls and you folks are sticking with good old Mitt no matter what. Cain has good sound bites and is a clorful character. But you folks know good and well you are not going to vote for that man. Look at the content of this article. It tells you what people think of Romney and ignores Mr Cain’s progress who has been in the news more than any other candidate.

Lil' Barry Blowhard (Revised Upward)

October 18th, 2011
1:31 pm

Obozo = 19 straight months of job creation. Imagine if the cons would compromise and work to create jobs instead of just filibustering every Obama plan.

BULLSEYE

October 18th, 2011
1:33 pm

Translation: Cain boots taste better than Romney’s

Lil' Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)

October 18th, 2011
1:38 pm

“Job creation” generally results in lower unemployment. Except when Obozo is destroying jobs at an even greater pace.

@@

October 18th, 2011
1:45 pm

Obama needs a better plan. Thus far, nothing he’s done has produced. Mort Zuckerman, an Obama supporter, contends that real unemployment is at 20%. I’m guessing it’s more like 23%. The unemployed, under-employed and lost-without-any-hope know the real score.

Now I AM gone!

jconservative

October 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

It is curious that the GOP base will support any flavor but Romney.

The GOP has gone through Palin, Trump, Bachmann, Perry and is now tasting Cain. And the party pro’s have already decided the Cain flavor does not pass the taste test (Grover Norquist-Cain’s “999″ plan is “very dangerous.”)

And so who will the party base next turn to for more flavor? Newt? Paul? Santorum?

It appears the GOP base grabs the latest gimmicky policy idea and tries it out only to discard it when it ends up leaving a bad aftertaste.

The real question is who is the Republican nominee most likely to carry the Independent Vote in the 8 to 10 swing states? That is where the election will be won or lost.

ByteMe

October 18th, 2011
1:46 pm

Hmm…. It told me my true love was Gary Johnson.

Which probably explains why he’s not even invited to the debates.

ragnar danneskjold

October 18th, 2011
1:54 pm

Good afternoon all. I write as an ab initio Cain-partisan. Cain’s appeal is almost exactly the same as that of Reagan – anyone can predict his view and prospective action on any topic, so consistent is his conservatism. We do not care if he is not the most experienced politician, nor the most cerebral. We do not want another “brightest guy in the room” to tell us how to live our lives.

Similarly Romney is unsettling for many of us for the same reasons as all “read my lips” politicians, a fear that today’s words will not match tomorrow’s actions.

Amusingly for me, during the 2008 cycle – when I was a Fred Thompson partisan – I waded through one of those Cosmo-style pick your candidate programs, and it revealed to me that I should support the eventual nominee, Captain Queeg. The flaw with such parsing programs is that it does not actually measure character, but takes all words as true perspective of the candidate. I aver that Mr. Romney could utter the same words as Mr. Cain, and yet he would be no more appealing than he is now. (Romney Appeal Level: two notches above Mr. Obama, one notch above Hugo Chavez or Hillary Clinton, and on a par with Gov. Huntsman.)

Jack

October 18th, 2011
1:55 pm

If Cain is on the ballot when I enter the voting booth, he’s my choice. None of the GOP candidates can magically produce jobs, immediately end the down-swing in the economy; nor can they make rich people out of poor people, but they can put an end to the ever increasing mandates to end inequities by taking from the producers and giving to the non-producers.

Sad State of Affairs

October 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

I’m old enough to have voted in about 7 presidential elections and I probably voted for a candidate in 1-2 of those elections. The other 5-6 times, I was casting a vote against the other guy. At some point, constantly voting for the lesser of two evils will result in a really, really dysfunctional nation. In the last 20 years, we’ve had presidents who used cigars to tantilize interns, a guy who put us in a costly and unnecessary war (and then declared Mission Accomplished while soldiers were still dying on the battlefield years later) and a newbie who talks a good game but has delivered virtually nothing to fix the misery of the common American. And let’s not even discuss the dysfunction that is the US Congress.

IMO, banishing all politic commentary from radio, TV and newspapers would be a great start to fixing this mess. The media caters to the extremes, pushing ideology to opposite ends and thereby leading to hardened positions and a situation that our Constitutional builders never expected… government servants incapable of civil discourse and a fractured society.

Rubes never get it

October 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

Yes, jcon, the Independent votes will win the election. My husband is a complete Independent. This is one reason I know Cain will never carry their votes. My husband’s droid keeps getting emails from Herman Cain. He looks up and asks me “Who is Herman Cain? And why is he emailing me all the time?” So there is your answer, the real Independents do not even know who he is.

DixieDemons

October 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

Slick Mitt for Prez —— I wonder who his Johnny Reb running mate will be ?

Lil' Barry Blowhard (Revised Upward)

October 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

Lil’ Barry Bailout (Unexpectedly Revised Downward)
October 18th, 2011
1:38 pm
“Job creation” generally results in lower unemployment. Except when Obozo is destroying jobs at an even greater pace.

You obiously don’t understand, or just ignore the Dept. of Labor figures. (Again, facts aren’t your strongpoint.) And it is the Cons that want to decrease government, cutting jobs like teachers, firemen, policemen.

hatorade drinkers

October 18th, 2011
1:58 pm

you are a republican, not a conservative. there is a difference, in case it had escaped your mind.

you are going to vote for a cactus plant as long as it identifies itself as a republican. don’t kid yourself you have any kind of selection criteria.

ragnar danneskjold

October 18th, 2011
2:01 pm

Dear Hatorade @ 1:58, you highlight a truth, that anyone who votes for a purportedly-conservative democrat will certainly be disappointed. The probability of such conservative buyers-remorse with a purportedly-conservative republican is only around 85%.

Rafe Hollister

October 18th, 2011
2:04 pm

Bernard Goldberg said it best last night. He said he is a pragmatist, whom ever can best beat Oblamer. He said the purist want a true conservative and they may cause the GOP to lose by nominating a purist. He said he will blame the purist if we lose.

I say, if we nominate a pragmatist, like Romney, even though I will get out and support him, others may just not get excited enough to bother to go to the polls. We lose a tremendous amount of enthusiasm by settling, and I don’t think the elite prognosticators give that enough sway.

JoeFann

October 18th, 2011
2:08 pm

Romney’s biggest asset, and liability, is that he is a Politician, working either side of an issue, depending on the political winds. Today’s climate is poisonous for Politicians, with the fringes on both sides dominating the rhetoric, and shouting down the compromisers. (Witness the blue dog bloodbath in the recent election.) Presidents are almost required to be politically expedient in order to get anything through Congress, so for that reason alone, Romney will remain the favorite to win the nomination, though he’s nobody’s favorite candidate. He’s just close enough to be palatable. All he needs to do is wait, and let the others shoot themselves in the foot.

Sad State of Affairs

October 18th, 2011
2:09 pm

Romney moves toward the plurality of voters while the other GOP candidates tend to move toward the right of that plurality. It is pretty much that simple… can they move the plurality of voters to the right with them? Or do they leave the middle open for the opposition? Is the goal to choose the right GOP nominee or to win the WH? While you may not want those things NOT to be mutually exclusive that appears to be the situation in 2011-12.

ByteMe

October 18th, 2011
2:10 pm

Bernard Goldberg said it best last night. He said he is a pragmatist

And I’m the Brooklyn Bridge. Wanna buy me?

Would that be prostitution?? :lol:

GT

October 18th, 2011
2:22 pm

Outside of Romney I am not sure how you can tell the difference from one candidate and the other. I think Cain is a subborn denial vote that says, “see I am not a bigot” when really what it says is I have found a black man to do my hate mail for me.

The Snark

October 18th, 2011
2:31 pm

The biggest problem facing the Republican Party’s candidate selection process is that it seems to be driven entirely by candidate’s current statements. No one seems to be the least bit interested in competence, knowledge, experience, track record, or whether the candidate can actually DO the job. Just whether the candidate says things that you like to hear. And of course, they are stumbling all over themselves trying to come up with statements that the “base” likes to hear, regardless of whether they make sense or constitute sound public policy.

And that’s how you end up seriously considering people like Palin, Bachmann, Cain, etc. who PLAINLY have no business serving as the nation’s top executive official, even though statements may come out of their mouths that you agree with.

The Snark

October 18th, 2011
2:43 pm

ragnar danneskjold: Careful, my friend. The Presidency takes specialized knowledge and brains. Having the “right views on things” is important but it is NOT ENOUGH. The last time conservatives decided that it was more important to have a consistent conservative than it was to have the brightest guy in the room, we got Katrina and the Iraq War.

If you agree with the things that Cain and Perry and the others have to say, then good on ya. But you really need to insist that they are also competent.