Which Candidate Would You Buy?


Using Business Tools to Sort The Candidates



Bubble size reflects candidate ‘worth’ based on my values


I’ve become a political hobbyist since I came to social media. I read the local newspaper, get RSS feeds, follow Twitter politicos and I watch news twice a day. I seek balance so I can stay informed. I am a conservative person: fiscally, socially and on international affairs.

As I write this in late December, 2011, there are seven candidates campaigning for the GOP caucus in Iowa. Barack Obama has already been campaigning for reelection since the start of the year. I’m overwhelmed. Each poll, each newsflash, each morning analysis throws me back to Point A. Who do I want to be U.S. president? Maybe I should use my business toolkit to sort things out.

Treating the presidential candidates as ‘products’ with votes as ‘market share,’ it becomes easier to sort things out. I used two tools: a modified Cause and Effect Matrix (C&E) to identify each candidate’s ‘worth’ to me, and a Real-Win-Worth.

Each C&E criterion was chosen by me and its relative importance to the other criteria are also mine. For example, I see the Economy as the top priority, ‘Family Values’ as further down, and ‘Immigration’ isn’t a priority at all. If you were to do this, you would have different criteria, weights and values. See mine, below.


Go here to see the data on Google Docs


The RWW is a little more objective. For Real, I subsitituted campaign strength (war chest, foot soldiers, experience). Win is market-based and emotion, so I used criteria based on the assumption that voters were customers. Here were the emotional criteria (trust, inspiration, message and presence).


Go here to see this data on Google Docs


What do the charts tell us?

  1. None of the candidates are in the happy quadrant, in the upper right corner. They are clustered in the weakest place, which is to be expected this early in the race. Most will drop out soon because ‘Real’ will cull them. They can’t sustain a campaign to move them into a better place.
  2. Romney scores very well on ‘Real’ with his financial backing and prudent planning. Even so, Romney is no more acceptable to the overall voter market than his competitors. Romney is unappealing to me (‘Worth’) compared to the others. He better start connecting more with voters. My favorite pundits keep saying Romney owns the GOP race, mostly because he scores well on Real criteria. They are ignoring how unacceptable he is to conservatives. If it comes down to a Obama vs. Romney race, I won’t “hold my nose and vote;” I’ll stay home.
  3. Obama, like Romney, is well positioned on the ‘Real’ axis. Still, Obama is no more acceptable than the flock of GOP candidates. Obama can move to the positive quadrant if he can encourage people to trust him. His strategy based on a negative campaign will not help move him in the direction he wants. He has the smallest Worth bubble because I think the man is incompetent and lazy.
  4. Gingrich has a weak ‘Real,’ but a good Win. I have heard him speak. He can motivate people through difficult choices, which we need even though there is some baggage from the 90s. I also scored Gingrich high on Worth. He is the only proven candidate to fix a major U.S. entitlement problem — Welfare — with Bill Clinton.
  5. Ron Paul has the highest Worth score. This shocked me, because I really fear him. He does hit my value points well. Real problems in the Win score — I don’t think voters will accept Paul despite his loyal foot soldiers.
  6. Santorum was lower when I first ran the spreadsheet, but he’s been doing well in Iowa this week. He scores higher than Romney for me. I would like to see Santorum run against Obama instead of Romney.
  7. Bachmann has no chance. She is loathed by the media and she has a grating personal style. People just hate her. I have heard her speak — she is my representative — and I think this is undeserved. Bachmann lacks executive experience and her campaign team has collapsed.
  8. Perry could be better. I do not understand how he could be so successful (his high Worth) with the Texas market and fail with the U.S. electorate and press.


  9. Huntsman? Well, the media likes him. I don’t. And like Bachmann, Hunstman has no ‘oomph’ to gain any ‘Real’ points


I work for a corporation that always deals with uncertainty. We use analytical tools to parse mushy data. In teams and no small amount of debate, we define success criteria. The comptroller is there to keep us down to earth. Marketing brings data about competitors and customers, and wants and needs of the market. Engineers know materials, manufacturing and their capabilities to produce.

I’ve been on teams who have used Real-Win-Worth (RWW) analysis to decide whether to enter a market with a new product. RWW is great for forcing teams to think through what’s important and what is not. If the team decides to proceed with product development, they revisit the RWW periodically when time reveals more useful data. 

RWW tells business teams to run after those projects where there is a real chance of Winning the market share with superior (Real)  manufacturing or technical expertise. You want projects that score in the upper right corner with nice large bubbles (Worth). If your project is too small or it is too far down the axis, then either stop the project or change something to improve Real or Win.

This RWW analysis would be more accurate if it came from a team of people with different political perspectives and values. Discussion would uncover other criteria. We can assume the scores would be better balanced.

I am a former Six Sigma Black Belt and DFSS engineer. I’ve lead teams through RWW workshops. I plan to stay the course on this RWW through the year and I’ll ‘vote’ or ‘buy’ a few times through the year.

Right now, none of them are worth ‘buying.’




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