As the dust settles…

As the 2012 Presidential Election comes to a close, it is useful to take stock of the way the election shook out.  As I was reviewing some of the demographics pulled from exit polls, one posted by NBC News really connected to some of the issues we’ve been discussing regarding what makes leaders successful; or more to the point, why followers follow them.  Look at the poll results below, particularly at the “candidate cares about people like me” section as compared to other thoughts like vision, values, and strength.  Discuss a little bit regarding whether this is surprising to you or not based on what you have read/learned so far. I realize this can be an emotional time so lets keep the comments civil, and focused on the data rather than the candidates.  You can see the whole demographic breakdown from which this was pulled here:


Which ONE of these four candidate qualities mattered most in deciding how you voted for president?

Category Obama Romney % Total
Shares my values 42 55 27
Is a strong leader 38 61 18
Cares about people like me 81 18 21
Has a vision for the future 45 54 29
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47 Responses to As the dust settles…

  1. Morgan Carson says:

    I feel as if everyone around me is still heated about the election, so I am trying to keep my comments as vague as possible. Although the outcome is controversial among my peers, I am thrilled at the opportunity to vote and be a part of such a large scale election. Voting for the first time made me feel like I actually was a part of this outcome. When I was looking at candidates, my main concern was for the future. I had a hunch that no social changes could occur with a House and a President from different parties, so in essence I had to look at economic changes that I would like to see in my future that would best benefit my family and me. So, I made my decision, and feel very privileged to have the right to vote in my country.

  2. James Comstock says:

    I agree with Morgan in her opening sentence, that everyone around me is still heated about the turn out of the election. Personally, I wanted Mitt Romney to win the election, but I was not really expecting him to win. I was very pleased to be able to vote in this election and I believe that everyone’s vote did count. The one thing that I do not understand about President Obama’s campaign is that he was promoting was equality for women and everyone. If I am not mistaken, everyone has had equality since the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960’s. Another thing that I am disappointed about is the future outcome of the Farm Bill, because of the re-election of President Obama, i do not think that the Farm Bill will get passed now. The Farm Bill is not only important to just farmers, but for everyone. If this bill does not get passed, it could effect everyone in the United States. I disagree with the statistics of the qualities above about “which candidate cares about me” I believe that GOP Candidate Romney cares about more than 18% of people.

  3. Katy Kelly says:

    I was very excited at having a chance to vote for the first time. When I chose who to vote for, I looked at whose values aligned the most with mine, but I also focused on who I thought could work the best with both political parties. When it comes down to it, the president doesn’t have that much control. He can say whatever he wants but Congress really has the power when it comes to legislation, and the president needs to be able to appeal to all the different sides in Congress in order to get anything done. That skill is what make a president a good leader. It’s a lot like bringing in out-groups. The president has to listen work with everyone, even if they aren’t the same political party as he is.

  4. Kristen Fisher says:

    I agree with Morgan and James about it being a very heated election and subject to talk about with my peers. I also was very excited to vote in this election, and am glad that I got to express my opinion. I find it very hard to believe that so many Americans chose not to vote when it is part of our freedom to be able to do so. In order to pick who I voted for, I combined man qualities. I didn’t just pick the one with the political party that I generally agree with. I watched the debates. Listened to the promises of each side. It was very hard to pick what would actually get done and what was being said just to get elected. I found myself saying that I agreed with the majority of values of the one candidate rather than the other. Of course it was that I agreed somewhat with both, so I looked at the one who I thought seemed the most promising, sincere for the country, ready for the leadership responsibility, and who shared more values that I had myself. Also, I looked ahead to the future, and tried visioning who I thought could do a better job for our country and future. I also took into account for which one I felt would do the most for me, especially since in the next four years I will be starting my career and own family.I feel like you most use all of the four qualities to determine who really is the best to vote for because just because someone has the same values as you doesn’t mean they will be a good leader.

  5. Macy Kinder says:

    I was so excited that I got to vote for the first time in this election. When I started preparing for the election, I wanted to make sure that I picked the candidate that I thought was best. I didn’t want to let other people besides the candidates influence me. When I voted, I picked the candidate that I thought was going to be the strongest leader with the strongest vision for the future of this country. I believe that if America truly wants to ‘go forward’ then it needs a leader who is going to turn this country around into the right direction. However, for the president to really get anything done then the president needs to be able to work with congress. I took into account who I thought was going to be able to work the best with congress.

  6. Will Coffey says:

    As many above have said, it was extremely exciting to vote for the first time! I am not particularly surprised about the poll results regarding the four qualities, but I don’t necessarily agree with all the results. I strongly agree with what Macy said above, I voted for the candidate that I thought would work best with congress and who I thought would improve our economic situation. I did not base my decision on social issues because I didn’t feel they were as important in this election. Having a vision for the future and being a strong leader would be the two most important qualities for me, out of the four listed above.

  7. Miles Rachner says:

    I think everyone would agree that this election was a hard fought electoral race. One thing that stood out to me after everything was over, was how Obama and Romney handled the post election. Even after all the bashing campaigns and commercials throughout the election, there did not seem to be any hard feelings. They both realize they are running for the same common goal, which is to better the United Sates of America. They realize it is important to support each other after the election was over because in the end the people need to be united and not split. Romney congratulated Obama and was very gracious for the whole thing. It is also important that now Romney supports Obama so there is no split between the people. Obama must then recognize this and work with Romney to complete this idea. So again i was very please with how both candidates handled the post election which showed some real leadership.

  8. Jacob Clore says:

    I felt that this election was extremely important and I was very excited to be a part of it. I am not that surprised that Obama received the most percentage with regards to “cares for people like me”. My personal opinion is that people thought this because President Obama is not into big business like Mitt Romney is. When people think big business, they think of greedy corporate workers and corrupt CEOs. So I am not surprised with that statistic. I totally agree with everybody on this message board with how the post-election results were handled. I felt like both candidates were as gracious as they could be, which is really nice to see.

  9. Emma D says:

    Like my classmates, I found it extremely exciting to be able to take part in a presidential election for the first time. As I learned more about the candidates in the weeks leading up to the election, I found it increasingly difficult to tune out the opinions of others and truly evaluate the candidates on how well I believed they would be able to serve our country. Ultimately, when it came down to actually voting, I chose the candidate who seemed to care more about me as a citizen and the candidate who I believed would work most successfully with congress in order to turn things around. As the dust settled after the election, both candidates handled the results incredibly graciously and did not bring a dark cloud of negativity over the election as a whole; that was a very welcome change after the negative campaign ads that were all over during the election.

  10. Jacob Melton says:

    So I always worry about data bias and try to verify any data I read, and seeing as this came from exit polls, which are not regarded as the pillar of accurate polling, I feel wary to draw many conclusions. But I will assume these are extremely accurate and discuss the topic as such. I believe this could say something about what each candidate emphasized when speak to the voting public. it shows what people felt about each candidate. Again, the way people feel about something is a difficult thing to quantify with numbers, since to many people none of these options may have been perfect. But if we accept the results as accurate, this shows the importance of message to the people, and in politics I think whether the message is totally true or not often becomes a blurred line.

  11. Thomas Nave says:

    I do not want to sound biased to Mitt Romney since he is who I voted for, but I find this poll interesting on a number of levels. It seems to me like Mitt would be a better leader in my opinion, but I feel like a large majority of the American public have a comfort level with Obama. Americans have a tough time breaking away from what is already in place because it is human nature to fear change. Obama does seem like a trustworthy individual, whereas I can see how Romney is viewed as sly and cunning. This is most likely the reason why Obama won the election, and the survey polls suggests this.

  12. Abigail Bartolome says:

    I sort of agree with Thomas. I also voted for Romney because my values aligned with his, and his plans for the future were what I believe to be better for the country. I also found the polls to be very interesting because the main category for deciding factors of why voters chose Obama was that he “cares about people like me”. I just find that idea interesting because that factor was so dominating over shared values, visions for the future, or even if they believe Obama to be a strong leader. I just find it interesting that it was the category that was more focused on self-interest than the bettering of the country that brought voters to the polls. It sort of makes me wonder what the voters expect for the future of the country.

  13. Riley St. Pierre says:

    I agree with what Thomas said because in a sense that was how I felt. I voted for Romney but I definitely had a “comfortability” with Obama. Even though, in my opinion, nothing great was achieved during his first term, I feel like he knows what he’s doing in office since he’s been there for four years and potentially he might be able to learn and adjust from his first term. Therefore I voted for Romney because I felt like he would be a good leader and I agreed on a social standpoint but I didn’t care as much about who won because I still felt like Obama would do an ok job and be a good leader as well. Also I felt as if Romney would either be good or bust where Obama might just stay about average. On a leadership standpoint, the values and vision questions were the most important from those who were polled and that doesn’t surprise me. It just shows as a leader it is important to have good values and a vision of your future, which also relates to the other question.

  14. Anna Lehman says:

    After looking through most of the voter statistics, I saw that most of the voter types were very predictable. I however do not like to think of myself as a certain “type” of voter. When voting for any leadership position to be filled you need to use your own thoughts and beliefs, and not let others influence you decision. As young voters we have a lot of pressure from peers, parents, and other adults in our lives, but it is important to vote who we think will fill the leadership position best.

    • Catherine (Cate) Beach says:

      I agree with Anna, the poll results were very predictable in my opinion. I also am similar in the fact that when choosing who to vote for, i like to put my own thoughts and views into my decision. It doesn’t surprise me in the poll that most people voted Obama because they wanted “someone who cares about me”, for that is the key point in his campaign and most likely the reason he won. It shocks me that he person who contained the most most in “is a strong leader” being Mitt Romney did not win, because you would assume that a strong leader would be wanted to run our country.

  15. Emma Reeves says:

    In my leadership class just the other day, we talked about how politicians were more like managers than leaders. While we do look up to them according to what they say and how they say it, what they do is far more important. However, it’s good to have a balance between a president who can inspire the people by what he says while also getting the job done through his actions. That being said, I voted for the candidate that shares my values above all other reasons. Just because a candidate is a strong leader, cares about people like me, or has a plan for the future does not mean that he will do what’s best for the country as a whole. I voted for the candidate that I believed would take the best approach in “managing” the country.

  16. Lauren Nance says:

    I think all of the above topics are important, but for this election I think having a vision for the future and being a strong leader are high priorities. With all of the economic downfall and other disasters we have seen during the past years, we need someone who can get us back on track. In my home town, the majority voted republican this go round because they had hope in Romney’s plan for the future. The election is over now though, so this is time that we all need to come together no matter which candidate you supported because it’s the only way we are going to be able to fix all of the damage that has been done to our country the past decade or so. I think Obama’s acceptance speech was encouraging and motivating. Hopefully he and our other leaders will keep to their promises to make America the best that it can be.

  17. Courtney H says:

    I think i based my opinion on who was the strongest leader. Because ultimately that characteristic is what will make a difference in our government and in our country.

  18. Courtney McPherson says:

    I find it very interesting that this poll focused on leadership and then we always hope as Americans that Presidents will bring about “change”. If you look back President to President no major change has really occurred since the New Deal, the issues are still the same, Social Security, Medicare, and the economy, with the addition of pro-life/pro-choice with Roe v. Wade. Obama’s campaign slogan for the last term was “Change” so the change he brought was Obama Care, and yes that can be big but I don’t think as big as the New Deal, it could be compared to the Patriot Act under Bush, it just effects a different issue. I was so excited to vote in this election because I wanted my voice to be heard, and although people are excited for 4 more years, and some aren’t I have stepped back to look at ideas on both sides and think, 4 more years small change may happen but major change…? I’m not sure, a vision for the future, do these involve change, and as far as leaders go, how do people base their decision on the candidate they think is the best? I focused on the future aspect of the poll in my blog post, and I did also take that into account when voting.

  19. Allyson True says:

    I am not one of those people who keeps up with politics or knows which candidate is winning. Since this was my first year voting, I had a hard deciding who to vote for. I think when people are deciding which way to vote, they should look at what the candidate stands for, not what their political affiliation is. After looking at the results, I think the breakdown of voters was fairly predictable. The results seemed to fit general trends, like men voting republican and women voting democratic and younger people voting democratic and older people voting republican. Most of us learned about these trends in our government classes so it shouldn’t be a shock when we look at this data. It just happened that this year a few more people voted for Obama. The election was very close so I feel like its hard to say if the “right” person was chosen. I think if Americans believed that there was one leader who would be best for this country, then the votes would have reflected that. I don’t think we will ever know if America made the right choice since will won’t know what the alternative would have turned out to be.

  20. Daniel M says:

    It was a close race and a great event, regardless of who won or lost. Honestly, I didn’t mind who won the election because neither candidate would ruin the country as some extremists say. In fact, it was projected that there would be about 10-12 million new jobs over the next four years WITHOUT Congress doing anything. Obama is probably going to be called a miracle worker when that time comes, but if Romney had won he would have been called America’s savior.

  21. kelsey edmonds says:

    Even though I do not necessarily agree with the election results, I understand why many voters voted the way they did. Americans today are looking for a sense of security and a leader that will provide them with comfort. Just looking at the blog post, the most important quality for a candidate by a long shot was “cares about people like me”. Because of the many stereotypes of Romney being a greedy, self-oriented business man, many voters gravitated towards Obama in the end. Even though Romney was probably a stronger leader and could overall lead America to something greater, the common American chose someone that would help their personal needs over America as a whole. They chose the leader they were comfortable with and knew would not do that much different compared to his first 4 years in office before. Overall, what it comes down to, is America fears change. People want to know someone has their back at all times and will not let anyone fail economically. However, this is almost playing it too safe and in order for America to go anywhere, I believe we need a leader that will actually change things around for the better of our country.

  22. Emily Hucks says:

    Just like everyone else, I was very excited to vote in this election and I believe that this election was a very heated one. The people that wanted to get President Obama out of office felt very disappointed when we learned that we would have him for another four years. I know my family and myself felt strongly when Romeny didn’t win. It wasn’t a good day for our household, but we just accepted that we would have Obama as a president for another four years and kept on with our business.
    I agree with that Thomas said about “Americans have a tough time breaking away from what is already in place because it is human nature to fear change.” People don’t like change unless it betters them. It seems like most Americans are O.K. with President Obama being in charge of their well-being and the protection of the country

  23. Sean Mowery says:

    I would say “shares my values” and “has a vision for the future” were my two top candidate qualities that mattered most in how I decided to vote for president. I think it’s only natural for people to lean toward a candidate who has the same values as him or her, which is why “shares my values” was the second most important quality in deciding who to vote for, according to the poll. I also think that a candidate who has a plan set forth for the future would be appealing to the masses because a secure future has been obscure for most people the past four years. In conclusion, I’m not at all surprised by the statistics shown in the poll; however, I don’t believe there is reason to be hung up on these numbers.

  24. Carly Scullin says:

    I was excited to vote for the first time like everyone else. As I was deciding which candidate to vote for I looked at the factors like “shares my values” and “has a vision for the future”. These were important to me because I want a president whose beliefs I agree with. I looked for a leader who has a vision for the future because I wanted to know how the future president will affect and change the future, and I wanted to make sure the candidate was working toward a better America.

  25. Dixon Holland says:

    The presidential election certainly was a nail biter for most of the night on election night. It was tough to see what the final outcome would be until the final few states let in their decisions. When it came to my vote, I chose to focus on the candidate being a strong leader because I knew that we needed a president who would lead our people in the best way and would make the right decisions for our nation. I also considered plans for the future when it came to my vote because I always want to have the good feeling and certainty that our nation is moving forward and will continue to get better and better. I couldn’t have voted without considering these factors.

  26. Annie Walsack says:

    I believe that Obama caring about people like me led me to vote for him. I feel as if Obama had more care for the middle and working class. This is so important to my family and I because we need to feel secure in our government and not be afraid of being looked over and forgotten.

  27. Rachel E. says:

    I agree with everyone else above that has mentioned that this election year was a very touchy subject. Personally in my house, my parents actually stand on the opposite side of the spectrum with respect to their political parties. It was a very heated topic at our house. But in my mind, the most important factor for me from the above list was having a vision for the future. If the candidate does not have a plan or vision for the future, how does he have any idea of what he wants to focus on or to fix. A vision is important to a candidate because without how do we as the voters have any idea what they believe in, want to change. In my mind the vision for the future encompasses their values/beliefs and shows what they really care about. With that said, it would be easy based on knowing what the candidate’s vision is, to figure out if their ideas/beliefs/values coincide with yours.

  28. Zack Snow says:

    I think it is clear from the poll results that while the majority of people felt that Romney was the better qualified candidate, he didn’t seem to have the personal connection with the voting populous. Although Romney had the majority for “shares my values”, “is a strong leader”, and “has a vision for the future,” Obama was the clear victor in “cares about people like me” and, according the poll, this is what ultimately won Obama the election.

  29. Patrick Lawrence says:

    We were all extremely excited to be able to vote for the first time in what was an incredibly close election. I know I am, as well as most of us, are still pretty heated about the results. It seems like we are a pro-Romney group. I voted for who I thought could resolve the economic issues, or at least bring us closer to success more so than the other candidate. I am disappointed in the results but not so surprised with the qualities outcome portrayed in the statistical figures above. I guess next election will hopefully have a better outcome.

  30. Kristina Gallagher says:

    To be entirely honest, I was not very excited to vote in this past election. Although it was my first election, I was not passionate about either candidate and did not feel like either one of the candidates would make a significant difference. I voted for Romney based solely on how he would protect my parent’s income, which is not something I wanted to do. I wish I could say that I agreed completely, or even mostly, with a candidate but in this election that was not the case.

  31. Alexander Jones says:

    What won Obama the election was the “cares about people like me” category. Romney has had it made his whole life and didn’t have that special connection with the citizens in the United States like most candidates in the past had. He outcasted 47% of Americans, and as soon as that news broke out, I just knew Obama would win the election. I’m a pretty political person, but don’t tend to lean more Democratic or Republican, but this election I picked the candidate that would lead the nation in the best interest for the majority of Americans.

  32. Jake Brown says:

    I was quite excited to vote in the election. I voted for Romney because I believe in the “is a stong leader” portion. Obama has done an ok job but we need a president who can go into congress and kick some ass to make them actually do something. This election focused so much on the president that no one stopped to look at the house and senate races. Because so many people got caught up in the presidential election and passed over the senate 20 out of the 23 Senators who were up for reelection won their seat back and two who lost, lost to someone in the same party. Unfortunately we will have 4 more years of congress bickering instead of discussing, filibustering instead of voting, and overall getting nothing done. Congrats America you focused on the wrong two people.

  33. Francisco Gabitan says:

    I strongly agree with the table that has statistics on what influenced people to choose leaders. Personally, I would choose a leader who falls with the same ideals that I hold while also giving me a vision and map for what the future will be like. Whether our country made the right choice or not, we can only wait. The biggest point I’d like to make though, is that it matter not who you voted for, what matters is the fact that you voted. This is a problem our country is facing especially with the younger masses. Thank you to all those who went out and voted!

  34. Cat Hauser says:

    I think that the president must share my beliefs for me to vote for him. Moving forward was Obama’s phrase that he went by in the 2008 elections and nothing has really moved forward so, personally, I do not think that the president’s future plans have much to do with who to vote for, but that might just be me.

  35. John jones says:

    What affected my voting the most was the ideal of being a strong leader and sharing values. In this day and age a president needs to be able to handle so many different issues all across the board, so a strong leader is definitely needed. Also on the idea of values, I definitely want a leader who shares many common ideals and will push for issues I care about.

  36. Mariana Sa says:

    Although I did not participate on the elections, if I was to vote for someone I would definitely go with the person who shares most of the same beliefs as I do. This elected person will take care of this country for the next four years, and eventually make changes that will last until the day I have grandchildren or great grandchildren. Thus it sounds reasonable to me to choose whoever has the beliefs that are closer to mine. I would not vote for someone who defends something that goes totally against my morals, simply because if he/she made that a law and I was forced to follow that rules this would personally offend me. Values are a big question. It is hard to talk about all your values, and how you would defend those, but some things these people, who have a lot of influence worldwide, defend are not OK with me and so I would not vote for them if their beliefs sounded too extreme for me.

  37. Anna Fox says:

    This election was ultimately one of the most contraversial in years. People really took a stand and the conversations tended to get very heated. I personally was on the side of Romney but I can see the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates. I voted for the person who identified best with my beliefs and though he didnt win I just hope the next four years goes smoothly. Clearly, Obama won because he was able to identify with the beliefs of more people than Romney was. Overall, I’m just grateful that I had the ability to vote in my first presidential election, most people in the world will never have this ability.

  38. Jasmine Porter says:

    During the election process, I had a lot of thinking to do between the two candidates. After analyzing the chart above I felt that both candidates had a clear vision for the future. Although their visions were very different I could see both of their concerns for our country. When looking at my particular circumstances that go on in my life I do agree with the chart that Obama care for me and my needs. I feel that because the President seems to be such a charismatic person he grasp a great deal of voters attention just as President Clinton did during his term.

  39. Ryan Jenvey says:

    For my first election, it was quite difficult to make my choice in who to vote for. To make a long story short, I frankly didn’t care for either candidate. Neither of them stood out to me as worthy of holding office as President of the United States. I think it is very unfortunate that we live in a world of such corruption that is so ingrained into our government and political system. I suppose I should be glad to live in a country that allows me to vote for the leader of our country but it means very little to me if what small say I have goes towards an unworthy candidate. It feels like I’m voting for the guy who is going to eat my cookies, or the bully that’s going to take my lunch money, or which STD I would prefer!

  40. David Bohn says:

    This was the first election I was able to vote in and was the most heated/controversial ones I can remember. For me this election came down to the candidate who was a strong leader and would push us as a country in the right direction. Also the candidate who had a plan for the future that aligned with my values the most ultimately got my vote.

  41. Crista Watson says:

    Personally, I am not that into politics and based my decision of off what my family did. I heard what my dad had to say about Obama, and then what he had to say about Romney. I also heard what others had to say but I might have been more biased towards my dad’s opinion just because he was my dad. Nevertheless, the things he said were true and I liked the way he put things in perspective for me and helped me understand what the two different leaders were trying to accomplish.

  42. Andrew says:

    I feel that as responsible citizens it is our job to vote for who will lead our country the best, and in the case of this election it is definitely Obama.

  43. Luke Carroll says:

    Voting for the first time was definitely an experience I will never forget even though I voted absentee it was still intriguing to think that I had a say in the way the 2012 presidential election went. Speaking strictly of these polls I do feel that connecting with your “followers” is a key aspect to gaining votes and being a leader but in our countries current economic, and social crisises I don’t think that simply connecting with the people is what is what the country needs at the moment. America is a country that was once the lender of the world and we had booming industry and infrastructure but now we are the ones in an economic crisis fighting for air trying not to drown in our own economic problems. America needs leaders with vision and prospects, not just someone who can connect with “people like me”.

  44. Libby Howe says:

    Further reinforcing the concepts articulated by Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle theory, I voted for the candidate that believed what I believed.
    This election marked the first political statement I made independent of parental influence. Living on my own, my values and beliefs developed rapidly into what I truly believe rather than anything my parents led me to believe. I went into this election not vastly educated about the candidates but rather fully aware of which candidate advocated certain causes that were invaluable to me.
    I completely ignored some of the facets of the campaigns once I recognized which candidate was a leader for what I believed in and, from that point on, refused to look at the candidates objectively. Everyone has those few convictions that take priority over any other influencing tactics a candidate attempts to employ.
    I voted for that candidate that shared my values. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

  45. Kyle Rushton says:

    As I practiced my right to vote this year, I took into account the qualities and traits of each candidate. Based on these statistics, I think it is prevalent that Romney is the better leader. I do, however, feel that Obama won the election because Americans fear change. According to this chart, Obama wins in “Cares about people like me”. Romney wins in “Shares my values”, “Is a strong leader”, and “Has a vision for the future”. I think it is time that people take into account who would be the better leader for our country instead of choosing someone who cares about people like them.

  46. Jerry Huang says:

    I almost despise the use of statistics before the final vote has actually happened. Statistics when proving a point are used as pseudo-concrete points that people give too much weight to and act as if they can be completely trusted. Bias is so common especially when taken from news sources such as MSNBC or FOX news as they are full people who despise dissenting opinions and only stick to the safe news stations that confirm their beliefs. I would consider sharing my values being one of the largest factors in my vote.

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