Connecting with Gut Values in 'Applebee's America'
They're driven by demographics and market research -- doing whatever it takes to identify and reach potential customers. Political parties and campaigns are increasingly turning to corporate tactics to win over voters.
In a new book, Applebee's America, former presidential political strategists say successful candidates must make a "gut values" connection with voters.
"I think first and foremost, [voters are] looking for a candidate who they can relate to and shares their values and also is a candidate who has a vision for the future and that can deal with the problems in their lives and make their lives better," co-author Douglas Sosnik, who worked for President Clinton, tells Linda Wertheimer.
"It's the idea that voters ultimately don't make the decisions in their head first," says fellow author Matthew Dowd, who advised President Bush in his last two political campaigns. "They make their decisions in their gut or heart first. And how they connect with a candidate at that gut value, whether it's a value of compassion, tolerance, strength. That fundamentally is what successful campaigns are all about."
But those gut-level connections aren't permanent. After all, President Bush has seen his popularity in polls plummet since the 2004 election.
"What happens with politicians -- it's interesting -- just like what happens with a business, is that you establish... a gut-level, sort of a brand connection with people," Dowd says. "That brand connection is not forever. Once you lose that and don't preserve that, it makes it very difficult to get it back, absent a major crisis or a major situation where you can re-establish that connection."
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.