Four years ago, voters’ descriptions of Barack Obama focused on his newness on the political scene. In September 2008, more voters used the word inexperienced to describe Obama than any other word, while change was the most frequently used positive term. Words like young, charismatic and new were also among the top descriptions.
Today, the public’s one-word descriptions for Obama reflect the mixed views of his presidency. The top positive words are good and trying, while the most frequently used negative descriptions are failure and incompetent.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Washington Post, conducted Aug. 31-Sept. 3 among 1,008 adults, finds that some perceptions of Obama have endured over the years. Four years ago, intelligent was among the most frequent descriptions. It has remained a constant in one-word surveys on Obama since then. Currently, 17 of respondents describe Obama as intelligent; two months before the 2008 election, 20 people said Obama was intelligent.
Read the full report, "Obama in a Word: From ‘Inexperienced’ and ‘Change’ to ‘Good’ and ‘Trying’", on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.