We’ve long argued in this space that the vote for president is unlike any other vote you make in politics — it’s far less centered on a specific set of policies than it is on how you feel about the candidate.
“Feel” is, of course, a difficult term to quantify as it widely varies for each of us based on our own experiences, biases and so on and so forth. But, feel matters when it comes to voting for president. Time after time, the candidate who voters felt understood them better and made them feel good about their lives and the country has won the presidency. Barack Obama was hope and change, John McCain was more of the same. George W. Bush was steady leadership. John Kerry was out-of-touch elitism. You get the idea.
Now, thanks to Hannah Davis and Sarah Hallacher, we have an amazing infographic that, using data compiled from the American National Election Studies, details how voters felt about each of the presidential candidates from 1984 through 2008 — with happy/sad faces to go along with each election. (The options given voters were: “angry”, “afraid”, “proud” and “hopeful”.)
Our favorite? The 2000 election in which people felt generally blah about Al Gore and George W. Bush. Which is basically how we remember it.
Click on the image below to see the infographic.