Why Barack Obama would win big this election, if it were held today
The Democratic nominee has not even been chosen yet, but Alpha learning can tell you a lot about the coming Presidential election. Alpha learning would predict that Barack Obama could win the 2008 Presidential election over Republican nominee Senator John McCain by one of the largest margins of any election in recent history. It’s also not hard to predict that, if Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, it will be a close race, although Senator Clinton would probably win that one, too.
This has nothing to do with political preference or ideology. It has everything to do with what the candidates are saying and how they are being perceived by the public based upon the Alpha Model.
For anyone who has not yet read The Alpha Factor, it is based upon more than a decade of intense research plus more years of real-world testing (not just ”test markets”) to understand what customers really want and why marketers who use these principles generate greater, more profitable success, while other companies struggle even though they are doing things that seem to emulate those successful companies.
The secret is fairly simple in principle, but extremely difficult in application - not because it’s all that hard, but rather because the “normal” model for trying to influence people is so wrong and so counter-productive.
By using the needs satisfaction pyramid (also called the Hierarchy of Purchase Drivers on page 63 of the book), it is fairly easy to see the difference between these candidates and predict how they would fair in a general election today. The issue that was discovered in our research that undermines success is that, when trying to influence decisions, most companies and people focus upon “function,” meaning they try to show that they are better by describing how what they have ”works.” That approach can work, but it costs more and takes more time to convince people with no guarantee of success. However, if you focus upon fulfilling a person’s need for personal significance and self-satisfaction (the two ways we perceive ourselves), you can generate passionate loyalty faster with less investment and with far greater impact.
Now, look at the candidates. Who has taken this learning to heart?
Let’s start with John McCain. During his campaign so far, he has cast little or no positive, motivating vision that would make anyone feel good about following his lead. He has focused far more on what he would do (”function”) than on how good we would feel about ourselves and how satisfied we would be with the world toward which he would lead us. After “Super Tuesday,” it became clear that he would become the party nominee due to his apparent strength with independents and “moderates” and due to the sapping of strength from Mitt Romney by Mr. Huckabee. After winning, Senator McCain’s response to the more than 50% of the Republican party that has serious concerns about his political views was to say publicly, “Get over it, and get used to it.”
Contrast that with Barack Obama. Whether you agree with his politics or not, whether you believe he can deliver on his promises or not, he has continually cast a vision that makes people feel the world might be a better place with him at the lead. You can argue with the “functionality” of how he says he would get us there, but people obviously want to believe in his vision, because he (as Ronald Reagan did a quarter of a decade ago) makes people feel good about the future of being an American. He addresses both self-satisfaction and personal significance in his vision-casting. That’s probably why he is beginning to be called the “new JFK.”
Finally, let’s look at Hillary Clinton. She has used the “mean” stick to try to beat opponents into submission. She has used the crying shtick to make opponents look like mean-hearted bullies. She has created division and distrust, trying to set one group of people against another. But even as she has tried to cast vision, she has never been able to make people ”feel good” about themselves or about being part of something in anything but a divisive way.
On the Alpha scale, Barack Obama would clearly have the highest Alpha Factor. As of today, Hillary would probably be a distant second. Poor Senator McCain would be just below that. Therefore, based upon Alpha learning about what creates success, Obama would be the big winner among the largest portion of the population if he were to run against John McCain today. If the race were between Senators Clinton and McCain, the model would predict a slight margin of victory (at least in popular vote) for Mrs. Clinton.