You know, thinking about the election, I've come to believe Obama will win, not primarily based on the strength of his record and how people might judge it. It'll be because he's so daggum cool. When you see him in a pair of shades, he looks like a secret agent or something. He's tall, he's good looking - - but he's married, lovingly, to his wife, and it's obvious that he's into some Michelle, loves his kids. He's a romance novel hero-type guy; at least in a picture.
Most of the modern presidents have had a similar cool factor in some way or another. I'd say a certain segment of america likes it's top politician to be cool; a guy you can have a beer with but who is still a larger than life persona. Bush was the Harvard marlborough man who partied hard and just barely squeaked by. Everyone knows that guy. They all like him.
Bill Clinton was the hillbilly intellectual. He liked fries with his shake, and a lady serving them to him was a good thing. He played sax and would be fun at parties and always had an interesting story to tell.
Ronald Reagan was slightly forgetful, cuddly and soft, but the grandpa you always loved and respected. As an actor he'd been sort of a poor-mans-John Wayne. He made you feel protected and comforted and laughed at all your jokes.
Few, if any, of these personality attributes really have all that much to do with their ability to govern or their knowledge of the issues. They're just cool man... Each had his own cool factor that made you want to be around them. And when it boils down to it, people don't always vote because of a candidates' command of the issues. Folks vote their gut, and we always want the girl who looks the best in a swimsuit to win Ms. America, we don't care much at all about her platform.