Branding The Candidates

Patrick Ottenhoff reports that “ recently emailed wordsmiths Frank Luntz, a Republican, and Andrei Cherny, a Democrat, a series of short questions on messaging.” The results are behind a subscription wall, but here’s a preview:

Frank Luntz Andrei Cherny National Journal Candidate Branding Chart

I’m not sure the “best describes” list tells us much about the candidates as much as how Luntz and Cherny see them. Still, it’s interesting that Barack Obama, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain get positive associations from both. I’m not sure where “flighty” comes from on Fred Thompson, frankly.

The “should describe” list is more amusing as an indicator that Luntz can’t follow directions than anything else. Clearly, for whatever reason, Cherny isn’t a fan of Fred Thompson, though….

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    Messaging the messengers:


  2. Luntz only had a negative word to say about one person (who generally clocks on polls as ‘unfavorable’ in the mid to high forties). Cherny had two negatives, which I think would be hard to support to a neutral observer.

    On the other hand calling Clinton principled raises whole new levels of questions as to Cherny’s understanding of the word triangulation.

  3. Eneils Bailey says:

    As a person who lives far from the inner or outer confines of the beltway, and thinks the Sun as being the center of the universe(not Washington, DC), I find it curious that words listed below were never mentioned:
    A. fool
    B. disgusting
    C. panderer
    D. dis-connected
    E. politician
    F. self-absorbed

    Maybe I should stop reading about leaders of the past, who expressed their thoughts in such arcane things as freedom and liberty, from which it was hard to separate from the person who expressed those ideals..

    Maybe if George Washington or Thomas Jefferson ran all their thoughts and were analyzed through the machinations of current day political consultants we would be further oppressed by both party’s political follies.

  4. Attila Girl says:

    We can’t use “Thompson” as shorthand any more! Tommy T. is in the race . . . !

  5. Triumph says:

    As a person who … thinks the Sun as being the center of the universe

    Its good to see paganism alive and well.