August 26th, 2011 // 6:00 pm @ Oliver DeMille
Pollster Frank Luntz says that to be real contenders for the U.S. Presidency, candidates
must have what he calls “the three P’s”:
1-A credible Plan to lead the nation
2-The Political prowess to be elected in the general election
3-The fight to stand for the values of the Party base
Add to this a fourth and fifth P, and you have good criteria for measuring the candidates:
4-The reality that the swing voters in the 2012 election will most likely be, as George Will put it, “independents in Northern cities” and Florida (most of whom are Professionals)
5-Comes across Positive to the voters
For example, President Obama has 2 and 3, but is weak on 1 and 4. Still, this puts him ahead of almost everyone else.
A clear, concise White House plan for America’s economic growth and a Positive approach to leadership could make him strong in 1, 5 and possibly even 4.
Expect his advisors to steer him in this direction in the months ahead.
According to recent polls:
- Paul is strong on 1, weak on the rest
- Romney is strong on 2 (and maybe 4), weak on the rest
- Huntsman is strong on 2 (and maybe 4), weak on the rest
- Bachman is strong on 3, weak on the rest
- Perry is strong on 3 (and potentially 2 and/or 4), weak on the rest
- Santorum is strong on 3, weak on the rest
- Cain is strong on 3, weak on the rest
- Palin is strong on 3, weak on the rest
- J. Bush is strong on 2-3, weak on 1 (though this could be remedied), and very weak on 4
- Giuliani is strong on 2 and 4, weak on 1 and 5, very weak on 3
There is, of course, a lot of time left before the election and things will likely change more than once.
For example, Romney could outline a strong national economic/jobs plan to counter the Obama jobs plan (if one is presented) and also work to become the voice of Positive in the election.
Perry would need to downplay the socially conservative issues (his Party base would vote for him anyway) and strongly emphasize his record on jobs (under his leadership Texas created over 1/3 of the new jobs in America during the recovery).
There is real potential for Perry to become stronger on 1, 2 and 4, Romney to become stronger on 1 and 4, or Huntsman or Bachman to gain strength on 1 and/or 4.
To win, Bachman would also have to become strong on 2 and Huntsman would have to become strong on 3.
Note that two potential candidates who haven’t joined the race yet are doing the best of all.
- Christy is strong on 1-4, weak on 5
- Ryan is strong on 1-3, might become strong on 4-5
Whether Christy or Ryan will run, and whether either would remain strong in the challenges of active campaigning, remains to be seen.
Ryan could probably become the voice of Positive and economic growth, while Christy would probably do best to push business-friendly economic policy and jobs as loud as possible.
Either could likely run on a strong economic platform with good results—the same is true of Perry, Romney, Huntsman and maybe Bachman.
What It All Comes Down To
If Luntz is correct (4 is really just a function of 2, and 5 doesn’t really matter to voters—despite what they say in the polls), the strongest positions right now belong to Obama, Christy, Ryan, Romney and Perry.
If it all comes down to 4, Christy or Ryan have a slight edge over Obama while Obama is ahead of Perry and Romney right now.
Still, there is a lot of campaigning yet to come, and some polls have both Romney and Perry ahead of Obama in head-to-head contests.
It is unclear exactly how this will all work out, but as we get closer to the election the savvy voter will do well to keep an eye on how each candidate measures up to these 5 criteria.
He is the co-author of New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.