Will Ann Romney Help Her Husband Connect with Voters?

Voters are familiar with the all-but-assured Republican nominee, but what about the woman behind him?
As the nation’s political focus shifts from primaries to the general election, many are curious about Mitt Romney’s chances in a match-up against President Obama in November. One of the largest hurdles for Romney—according to pundits and talking heads—is his inability to connect with the female demographic, especially given the stronghold President Obama’s personable and enigmatic wife has on the nation.
But with the big contest in sight, Ann Romney has come out to support her husband. How has she done in convincing America’s female voters, and voters in general, that Mitt Romney should be the next president?

Our analysis of over 130,000 opinions across Twitter, news sites, and blogs shows the conversation split: 39% of the conversation view Ms. Romney positively. Specifically, the positive conversation discusses:

  • 10% percent of the conversation view Ann Romney as the answer to Mitt’s awkwardness. After various gaffes; betting Rick Perry $10,000 and claiming “corporations are people”, Mitt’s wife provides a more relatable, humanized presence to her husband on the trail. She paints him as a provider and source of strength after her bouts with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis.
  • 13% see Ann Romney as Mitt’s “secret weapon” in the coming election, campaigning for her husband in states where he cannot be present.
  • Another 16% support Ann Romney’s understanding that women’s political concerns go beyond “contraception and reproductive rights issues,” and instead in the economy and their children’s futures. She has also been running her own Pinterest account since late February, a site that boasts females as 95% of their user base.

A screenshot of Ann Romney’s Pinterest account. Click the image to enlarge.

The same percentage (39%) of the conversation is negative; detractors focus on:

  • Despite her affability, 15% of negative sentiment drivers are cracking wise, ranging from jokes about, “unzipping and letting the real Mitt Romney out…”, to ones about their wealth.
  • About 16% of the conversation find it disingenuous that she doesn’t consider herself wealthy, especially in the current economy.
  • While a segment of 8% view her as a bit phony and an opportunist.

With much of the opinionated sentiment allocated to positive or negative, the 18% of neutral conversation driving is a result of news being spread about the Ann Romney on the campaign trail.
With much of the opinionated sentiment allocated to positive or negative, the 21% of neutral conversation driving is a result of news being spread about the Ann Romney on the campaign trail.
Conversely, since the 2008 election, Michelle Obama has focused less on directly campaigning for her husband and has focused more upon her mission and goals as First Lady, namely her “Let’s Move” campaign to curb childhood obesity. Of over 540,000 opinions, 38% view her positively, specifically noting:

Click image to enlarge

  • 15% of the conversation see the First Lady as the perfect role model for their daughters, as opposed to other pop cultural figures.
  • 13% felt that the way she lives embodies the message of her “Let’s Move” campaign to promote healthy living.
  • 10% acknowledge that her fashion sense, as well as her composure make her a “classy” First Lady.

With neutral sentiment assuming another third of conversation at 30%, 19% involves spreading news about Mrs. Obama herself, while 11% is observing her “Let’s Move” campaign. Michelle Obama has also recently defended Ann Romney. The first lady responded on Twitter after a top Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor criticized Ms. Romney, who stayed at home to raise her five sons, as having “never worked a day in her life.” In defense of Ann Romney, the first lady’s Twitter account responded, “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”
However, in identifying the negative conversation drivers, much of what was said regarding Ann Romney can be seen similarly about Michelle Obama as well. With 32% of the total conversation registering as negative,

  • 12% find her “Let’s Move” campaign to be hypocritical, in that she advocates a healthy lifestyle but may fail to live up to those same standards.
  • 10% made slight of her by using racial epithets in the attempt of making a joke.
  • And another 10% find that her frequent family vacations, as well as her shopping habits put her out of touch with the average America who is struggling in the current economic climate.

It’s not totally fair to compare the two quite yet. Although conversation about Ms. Obama is slightly more negative, the volume of discussion about Ms. Romney is still quite small.

Share of Voice comparison between Ms. Romney (yellow) and Ms. Obama (purple). Click image to enlarge.

As always, we’ll continue analyzing the space for interesting trends. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at info@crimsonhexagon.com with questions or to learn how your market, brand or product could benefit from leveraging the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform for social media monitoring and analysis. Want to see the Crimson Hexagon platform in action? Request a Live Online Demo.
Sean Finn and Aliyah Bilal-Gore also contributed to this post.

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