A new brand of Presidential poll

October 24, 2008, 12:30 AM UTC
Fortune

by Jessica Shambora

Barack Obama is on his way to the White House, so the polls suggest. But how are we going to feel once he’s President of the U.S.? And if–just if–McCain upsets Obama, where will our heads and hearts be then?

Added Value, a brand consultancy that has worked with such companies as Honda , Kimberly-Clark , Coca-Cola , Nestle and Wyeth , explored the emotional connections between consumers and the candidates in a survey of 2,677 likely voters. The survey was conducted a month ago, and the results are just out. Added Value came up with an “Emotional Intensity Index” (EII) to measure the way people envision their daily lives two years from now under four different scenarios: with McCain in office; with Obama in office; with McCain/Palin in office and with Obama/Biden in office. The EEI is an index of emotions (anger, anticipation, fear, sadness, acceptance, disgust, joy and surprise) evoked by the those imagined scenarios. And the higher the score, the greater the emotional connection–and supposedly the greater the motivation to vote.

So, who is most invested in a big win? Obama supporters, according to the survey. People “definitely voting” for Obama imagine a brighter future under his leadership, with an average EII score of 66 vs. 62 for McCain supporters.

The survey also showed a generational divide: Younger voters tend to feel trust and support for Obama–and fear and sadness about the prospect of a McCain win. Meanwhile, older voters tend to feel joy and optimism as they envision McCain in the White House, and a sense that something is being taken away from them if Obama would win.

Added Value also found that woman are more intensely engaged in the election than men. That’s a good sign for Obama because he’s favored among women.

We’ll see on November 4 whether the pollsters and prognosticators are right. For another oddball survey, check out the just-released study by TV ratings agency Nielsen that shows the connections between TV and political preferences. If you’re a fan of South Park, you’re likely Republican. If Deadliest Catch is your bag, you’ll likely be voting for Obama. Hmm, I wonder how Deadliest Catch can be Cindy McCain’s favorite show.