July 30th, 2009
08:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama's weapon: A dose of homecoming king charm

President Obama's likeability is key to his leadership, experts say.
President Obama's likeability is key to his leadership, experts say.

(CNN) - As President Obama pushes forward with his agenda, he may find that a homecoming king's likeability is just as integral as the power and authority inherent to the Oval Office.

"I just don't think you can be effective without being liked," said Bruce Newman, a professor of marketing at DePaul University and editor of the Journal of Political Marketing.

Newman describes Obama's leadership as a "two-pronged support system of both being popular but yet having the respect."

"I don't think you can be effective without that first step of making that emotional connection with the voter, but to continue to be effective, it's not enough," he said.

Newman pointed to three recent examples of presidential candidates who lacked the appeal of their opponent: Bob Dole vs. Bill Clinton, John Kerry vs. George W. Bush, and John McCain vs. Obama.

"We are looking for leaders that we could relate to, that we would like to have dinner with or have a beer with or a glass of wine with," he added.

Obama has been likened to Republican President Ronald Reagan, who was generally considered more popular than his policies at the start of his first term.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. why discuss it?

    how about get the work done

    July 30, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Cheepwrent

    Charm? Hardly....it's all an act, ya know. All that matters is capturing the votes. Charm would be Cary Grant or the most darling little 5 year old little boy down the street...

    July 30, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Angus McDugan

    Just like the Queen... Obama is more of a figure-head who is very popular but has no real authority or ability to get the job done.

    July 30, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. jp,michigan

    Every American should read H.R. 3200, health care bill bing pushed by Obama. Then come to their own conclusions. Every thing that comes out of the Presidents mouth is the truth. Will the President and congress be required to have the same health care proposed for American citizens? If not, why not?

    July 30, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    When you got swag, you just can't help it. Keep up the good work Mr. President.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Deb

    I expect President Obama will do very well in his first (4) years in the White House. The fact that he is so "likeable" and so easy to relate to will make it easier for him. The minority who do not like or respect our President will remain just that.

    July 30, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Rob

    Leslie Gelb writes in Power Rules (a great read), that to be a leader you need to be both liked and feared, particularly on the foreign policy front. If you want to use your power to get someone to do what they don't want to do you need both. He claims that Bill Clinton was liked but not feared and that George W Bush was feared but not liked. If he's right, being liked by itself is not good enough.

    July 30, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. phoenix86

    More like a con artist than homecoming king.

    July 30, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Keith in Austin

    Congratulations CNN! Another gripping newswothy report. By the way, as verified through various national polls, the majority of Americans disapprove of Obama as his popularity is now plummenting like a rock!

    July 30, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  10. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    Charm and propaganda savvy are the skills that President Obama brings to the American people. Stalin was a better master of propaganda, but Obama is really great at that too. He makes no apology for 'rallying his base', calling in political strong arms, and
    blatant and highly visible intimidation methods. Democrats targeting Democrats with negative ads? Promising people hand-outs in order
    to get their support and votes. King Obama is a dangerous and deceitful man. I did not want him to be our President, but the masses were swayed. He is a puppet man for the socialist agenda, and he
    is also racially biased, so the mask is slipping. True Patriots are
    keenly aware of his agenda, and we will keep our Liberty through the use of LIGHT and TRUTH. Let us Unite to defeat socialist/communistic policies. Patriots UNITE!

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Butch/Good News, MA

    Doesn't this play into his critics hands of "Empty Suit"? He can be the greatest guy in the world...it won't change the fact that his policies and ideas are not people want. Americans are smarter than that. They are waking up.

    July 30, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Scott, Tucson

    "We are looking for leaders that we could relate to, that we would like to have dinner with or have a beer with or a glass of wine with,"

    I guess if I was a Marxist, leftist, anti-American, big spending, wine sipping socialist, I might be able to relate to Obama but I'm glad I'm not.

    July 30, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. TCM

    well, he was never liked by conservatives; both republican and democrats. He was liked and adored by a flock of sheeple that ranged from those who liked government freebies to those who didn't like to work, and liked the idea of government nannyism......now, he's losing popularity everyday. Not from conservatives, but from those who didn't get their teet soon enough, and might actually have to work for a living. CNN – you're funny; comparisons to a king in the first paragraph, when he's simply a street activist court jester at best. Face it, as much as he's propped up, he's absolutely over his head.

    July 30, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. Carlos

    He has lost his appeal already with anybody that has half of a brain.

    July 30, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    President Obama pushes forward with his agenda, health care reform

    July 30, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  16. Mark

    Who is it that likened obama to Ronald Reagan? Obama like Reagan not in his best lifetime.

    July 30, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Tom Mathers

    Time to change the drool bucket...

    July 30, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. Obama=Trickle up Poverty

    He is facing the reality of Over kill. We are getting tired of seeing him doing a press conference every time things don't go his way. He's like a kid throwing a temper tantrum and running to mommy, cause daddy said NO.

    July 30, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. Chris

    WIth his popularity as "Homecoming King" falling every day, it's no wonder he's rushing to judgement and spending every dollar our grandchildren will earn. I'd like to see him rush a little more with those little tiny countries that are developing NUCLEAR WEAPONS every day that our President is throwing money earned by the working class to those who won't work.

    July 30, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. Doug, New Jersey

    Libs feel the evil, hate, and dishonesty running through him and obviously the average Democrat voter relates completely. In fact, the more Obama lies and shows what he did with the Gates comment, the more he will sure up his Obama-bot base. Do you really think the Obama-bots would object if they were told to wear a certain vest and then go into a crowded mid-western or southern church?

    July 30, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Larry

    President Obama has shown he's a president of the people, not special interests in Washington.

    He puts the needs of the country before his own political ambitions.

    The Democrats need to get behind him on his policies, especially health care reform. The Republicans are a party of the past.

    July 30, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Alfred E. Neumann

    More reference to beer. Perhaps someone is in need of a twelve step progam. I would hope that the current POTUS is shown the 12 step march out the door in 2012.

    July 30, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. GI Joe

    I like our President. Some of you are unreasonable to think the mess that took 8 years to create can be cleaned up in 6 months.

    Get a brain.

    July 30, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. J.C.

    President Obama will pass the health care reform bill by December.
    A public option is the only way to reduce costs in the long term.

    July 30, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. John McCain

    I always considered myself pretty likeable.

    July 30, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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