Why Iraq And Romney Won The Republican Debate
I watched the Republican debate via Fox News.com and took advantage of the ability to watch it with the so-called People Meter which gave a running response from two focus group’s reactions to the candidates as they spoke by graphically presenting a mean number. There were two lines, one for moderates, one for conservatives.
Putting the candidates aside for a moment, what I saw was that when the message was win in Iraq, it didn’t matter which candidate was saying it – the numbers for both conservatives and moderates went through the roof. And the stronger the talk, the higher the mean number. The only other issues that came close were immigration and taxes – the more talk there was of lower taxes, the higher the meter went. And moderates, as well as conservatives, wanted straight, tough talk on illegal immigration, as well.
As for the candidates, I tried to put my own responses aside and simply concentrated on the numbers as the candidates replied. And I noted it by candidate over time to get a sense of, over all, who appeared to do best and who did the worst, putting aside Ron Paul.
Rudy did not resonate consistently with the focus group, not at all. If you judge this debate by these numbers, he didn’t live up to the expectations of a front runner. McCain may have excelled on Iraq and Iran, but over all, he didn’t resonate well with moderates, or conservatives through much of the debate.
Based solely on my viewing the flow of the numbers from start to finish – on average, I honestly believe Romney resonated most strongly with the most people, conservative and moderate, in terms of the over all debate. His biggest weakness was on Iraq. His responses were too nuanced. If he had more of the straight talk of McCain or Hunter on that issue, my guess is he would have won the thing hands down.
Again, this is all based upon Luntz’s so called People Meter, or focus group approach. I tried to take my own views out of it as much as possible and just focus on the graphics.