Approval is not Enough

APPROVAL IS NOT ENOUGH….Via Michael Crowley, this excerpt from Ryan Lizza’s GQ profile of Barack Obama is pretty interesting:

One day this spring, Obama’s pollsters were crunching numbers, and they discovered something odd….When they compared the percentage of Democrats who said they strongly approved of Obama with the percentage who said they would vote for him, they found that the latter number was significantly lower than the former. Inside the campaign, aides dubbed this “the Gap.” It was a sobering, hard number that quantified the difference between vague enthusiasm and actual votes. For Hillary Clinton, the gap is much smaller. The majority of voters who strongly approve of her also say they will vote for her.

In fact, Hillary was collecting about two-thirds of Democrats who liked her, while Obama was collecting less than half. The numbers suggested that the calculus for Hillary voters was much simpler: Democrats who liked her knew all they needed to know about her. But for Obama voters, there were questions. Was he tough enough? Did he have enough experience? Could he actually win in the general election?

This is interesting on its own terms, but I also find it interesting that apparently this was news to Obama’s campaign team. This “gap” seems like the kind of thing that perhaps people like me have never heard of, but is common knowledge among political pros. But apparently not. Or at least, not among Obama’s political pros.

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