||06-19-2007 11:46 AM
America's Creepiest Candidates
David A. Andelman, 06.18.07
When it comes to the creepiest candidates or potential candidates for America's presidential sweepstakes, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich takes the prize, but Hillary Clinton isn't far behind.
Some 19% of the population polled in the June edition of the Forbes '08 Tracker, among the most unconventional polls in this year's presidential sweepstakes, call Gingrich creepy. He turns out to be the top Republican in this category among six who reached the baseline of 10% or more recognition in our sample who were questioned.
The creepiest Democrats turns out to be a dead heat--between Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. But here, the split is dramatically along gender lines. Some 20% of all the men find Hillary creepy, while only 10% of all women. For Gore it's 18% and 11%, respectively.
Neither Forbes.com nor E-Poll, the California market research company that is conducting the polling, defines any of the 46 attributes on which it polls its sample population--the same traits it has used to select high-level spokespeople for advertising campaigns for more than a decade. Politics, along with selling cars, television shows or any other product has become a complex process.
The 46 attributes help define trends and key drivers of what moves a person to respond or to react to the messaging and the messenger. In this case, the candidate's name is given to the polled population, which is then asked to match whichever of the attributes it believes is appropriate for the candidate in question.
More than three times as many men than women find Sen. Joseph Biden creepy--10% vs. 3%, which could be attributed to the fact that as we reported last month, 23% of all women polled found him the most handsome candidate, vs. just 5% of the men.
The bottom of the list is equally interesting. Fred Thompson, who's just beginning to stick his toe in the presidential waters, turns out to be the least creepy--only 2% of those polled cite him as such. That could be a tribute to the years he's been dispensing folksy good common sense as the New York District Attorney on Law & Order. No respectable Hollywood script writer would put creepy words into that mouth.
New York's real-life mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is creepy to only 4% of those polled. That could be a tribute to the fact that only 23% of the national sample express awareness of him, despite his having held office in what is undoubtedly America's most visible city for more than five years, not to mention having his own Web site, as well as a multibillion-dollar media empire including a global news agency, radio and television network, and book publishing and financial data operation all bearing his name--Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, who ran as a Republican for mayor of Democrat-dominated New York, is for the moment an undeclared candidate. But he has hinted fairly broadly that if he does run it will likely be as an Independent. And with a billion dollars of his own money he's said to be prepared to commit to the effort, he could be expected to jump substantially in national awareness.
Bloomberg's tied at a 4% rating on the Democratic side with Barack Obama and Christopher Dodd who, incidentally, no women find to be creepy. That could, of course, be a tribute in part to the fact that only 12% of those polled even had any idea who Sen. Dodd is.