As we have noted before, the voters who stick through to the end of a presidential poll sometimes get asked some pretty odd questions.
And such was the case with a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday.
The headline numbers for the poll showed President Barack Obama getting a strong post-convention bump, rising to a 50 to 44 percent lead among registered voters over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
But at the end of the poll, those same registered voters were asked a series of questions aimed at getting at their personal impressions of the two candidates.
Among questions such as which candidate would make the more trusted friend (as President Harry Truman once said "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," which, notably, Obama did shortly after his election) was one that jumped out.
"On a ship in a storm, who would you rather have as the captain, Obama or Romney?" the respondents were asked (Obama won 46 percent to Romney's 43 percent).
Presumably, the question sought to evoke the metaphor of the Ship of State in the tumultuous waters of international affairs - an unusually prescient question given the flaring of violence against American embassies in North Africa and the Middle East.
But let's consider the question more literally. Which candidate might make a better nautical captain of an actual ship facing heavy weather?
Both candidates have some familiarity with aquatic activities.
Then-candidate Obama was famously photographed shirtless, bodysurfing on a beach in Hawaii, while Romney's more recent campaign vacation in July featured the candidate riding behind his wife Ann on a Jet Ski in New Hampshire.
Indeed, both even seem to have some experience skippering a vessel.
An official White House photo from 2010 portrays Obama at the wheel of a boat with daughter Sasha, while Romney can apparently be seen at the helm of a rather large sailing ship in an image RTTNews found on the social media photo site Pinterest.
(Romney was also photographed by the Associated Press driving his family in a large powered boat during that same July vacation).
But that appears to be the extent of Obama's nautical experience while Romney's seems more extensive.
Romney clearly has spent more time on some of the larger nautical vessels as evidenced by his campaign hosting top donors aboard a 150-foot yacht in August for a fundraiser.
(According to ABC News reports from the time, while Romney did not attend the fundraiser personally, several of his relatives, including his older brother, did. And the rented yacht was famously (or infamously) spotted flying the flag of the Cayman Islands, where Romney is known to have overseas bank accounts).
So in our estimation, Romney would likely make the better nautical captain of a ship in a storm, while Obama might be a bit… well … out of his depth in charge of an actual ship.
And what bearing might this have on whether Romney might make a better President than Obama over the next four years?
by RTT Staff Writer
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