The Bachmann puzzle, cont.

I could understand Bachmann dropping somewhat in the polls. I could understand her dropping a lot in the polls. But down to four percent, three percent? I don’t get it. It makes no sense—especially with the conservatives going through all this Sturm und Drang over the absence of a good conservative candidate. She’s right there. Why don’t they see her? Why did they stop seeing her?

- end of initial entry -

November 17

Chris writes:

The many articles describing the turnover in her staff and the subsequent public disloyalty of her former staff have convinced me that she is fatally deficient in the ability to hire, to manage, or to inspire loyalty.

It’s a shame since among the Republican candidates her policy positions are closest to mine.

I enjoy your blog. Thank you.

Mark Jaws writes:

Simply put, I don’t think she looks or sounds presidential. NPR had an interesting report on Wednesday concerning the need for female candidates to lower their voice tone, as Margaret Thatcher was successfully able to do in the mid 1970s. Even the GOP Primary Electorate likes to be able to visualize their preferred candidate operating effectively in The Oval Office. I just don’t see her fulfilling that role. Don’t ask me why. I cannot explain it other than lack of “gravitas.”

LA replies:

I think that one of the things that is unusual about Bachmann is that she does combine femaleness with presence and force—gravitas. But maybe not enough gravitas. Also, I think her Midwestern “honk” (think of the way she pronounces “Obamacare”) lessens her gravitas, and also her constant repetitions about “I’ve raised 23 foster children” and “I am 55 years old.” I don’t know what drives her to keep saying those things. But it has lessened her force. Still, these are minor points.

As far as her image is concerned, she is a fine looking woman and yet also looks like a possible president. She is a complete “package” in that sense, which adds to my puzzlement at why she is not more popular

Ron K. writes:

You asked why Michele Bachmann is dropping in the polls. But which polls? Are these national polls, or just in the early states? [LA replies: Mainly national, and she is at three or four percent in them.] And how likely are those they ask to vote?

I ask, because Iowa is a caucus state. We have both a caucus and a primary in our state, and each asks very different sacrifices from the participants. The primary takes five minutes, ten if they offer free coffee, and you’re out. The caucus starts about 6 or 6:30 and lasts until nine (when Republicans shut it down because there are beers to drink elsewhere; Democrats might go till two or three.)

Caucuses attract only the most committed voters—whether that commitment is to a candidate, an issue, or just good citizenship. They also reward candidates with a strong organization.

Romney and Paul have such armies from earlier campaigns. Bachmann, from the state next door, had the best of the new candidates—she won the straw poll.

But how many feet on the Iowan ground do Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Santorum have? (And, oh yeah, Huntsman; I forgot him.) Who’s going to run down to the caucus on a cold night just to defend them from their many negatives? Michele’s will. (“Bachmann’s Turnout Overdrive”?)

So she still has a good shot at finishing high in Iowa, perhaps right behind Romney and Paul, both of whom alienate large chunks of the party.

The first thing pollsters should be asking Iowans is, “Will you be at the caucus if it’s 15 degrees that night?”

As an aside, do you realize that no one born in the 1930s has been elected president? Only McCain and Dukakis have even been nominated.

Ron Paul is now the leading candidate of that cohort, with McCain and Ralph Nader the only other possibilities. Would you say their ship has sailed? [LA replies: I would also note, based on personal observation, no data, that people born in the 1930s are very atheistic. Maybe that has something to do with their failure to connect.]

Paul K. writes:

Mark Jaws wrote: “NPR had an interesting report on Wednesday concerning the need for female candidates to lower their voice tone … “

There is something to this. I find Bachmann’s voice slightly harsh; however, Sarah Palin’s far worse, yet she has a more devoted following.

I think Bachmann lacks the charisma that attracts voters. Cain has it in excess. Perry seemed to have it, but his blunders may have overwhelmed it. If Romney had it, his popularity would be well over 50 percent.

That said, I too am surprised that Bachmann has not done better. She would have my vote.

November 18

Nik S. writes:

Let’s be honest: Michele Bachmann is really sexy. I’m not insinuating that her sexiness is the primary reason you support her, I’m just sayin: Bachmann is HOT! I do think her Mini-so-tin accent simultaneously adds both to her charm and her hokeyness factor.

I think the main reason she is not taken more seriously is that her political experience does not go beyond the House of Reps. When is the last time someone without senate or gubernatorial experience won the presidency?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 16, 2011 10:08 PM | Send

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