The remaining four candidates for the 2012 Republican nomination are gearing up to square off in Wednesday night's Arizona GOP debate, where they will battle over a wide-range of policy issues. But there's a good chance millennials (and many Americans) will not vote for president based on policy issues at all, but instead on the far more intuitive criteria of which candidate is more "cool" and relatable (here's one study showing voters select candidates based on who looks more like them)
So, which candidate in the 2012 election has got the "cool" factor? Mitt Romney or President Obama?
President Obama rode to victory in 2008 not only based on his policies, but also by presenting the image of "cool," a social media savvy politician who plays sports, loves music, and walks and talks like an average American, not an insider Washington politician. This image stood in deep contrast to his GOP competitor John McCain and predecessor George W. Bush. Four years later, the question on everyone's mind is whether or not millennials will once again come out for President Obama.
A December 2011 Harvard Institute of Politics poll revealed the majority of millennials predict President Obama will lose in 2012.
But, let me offer throw this angle into the mix. If it comes down to "cool" factor, the intangible belief that one candidate is more hip and in-tune with pop culture than another, President Obama has no competition. Look no further than the following videos of Mitt Romney and President Obama singing for guidance:
First, here's two videos of Romney singing. In the first, Romney marched in a Martin Luther King Day parade in Jacksonville, Florida and quoted a line from the Baha Men: "Who let the dogs out?" "Whoo! Whoo!" Then, Romney led his supporters in a rendition of "America the Beautiful" in Florida.
Now consider the following video of President Obama. On Tuesday, Mick Jagger handed President Barack Obama the microphone at the White House, and Obama sang “Sweet Home Chicago” with an all-star group of musicians to honor the blues. In the second, Obama sang a popular Al Green song during a fundraiser at the Apollo in Harlem.
The contrast could not be more stark. Weigh in: Based on personality and cool factor alone, is there any chance Romney can compete with Obama? Will this doom Romney's candidacy amongst millennials?
Photo Credit: The U.S. Army