Obama needs to show Americans he's still 'one of them'

Jul 25, 2012

To win a second term in office, President Obama needs to persuade voters that he is still one of them – and recapture some of the charisma that help propel him to the top four years ago. However, this is clearly a challenge given the economic difficulties facing many Americans. Writing in Scientific American Mind, Professors Alex Haslam of the University of Exeter and Stephen Reicher of St Andrews describe how presenting themselves as 'one of us' is central to leaders being seen as a charismatic.

Rather than being an inherent personal quality, they identify as something that is constructed through a partnership between and followers. They also suggest that we come to a collective view about a leader's charisma as a result of believing he or she is representing us as a group and taking our interests forward. In the case of Obama, this means that he is far more likely to be viewed as charismatic by Democrats than by Republicans. This point is confirmed in research that Haslam and Reicher have conducted with University of Exeter PhD student Niklas Steffens. Their research indicates that while Mitt Romney is seen as more charismatic by Republicans than by Democrats, those Republicans still find him relatively uncharismatic, largely because they do not see him as 'one of us'.

The researchers argue that whether they are running nations, businesses, or sports teams, charismatic leaders need to follow three 'Rs'. 'Reflecting' involves learning about the culture and history of the group that they lead. 'Representing' refers to the need to be seen as someone who stands for, and who stands up for, the group. 'Realising' is about turning the things the group values into reality: essential for charisma to be sustained over time. In these terms, one of the key problems Obama faces is that that this third 'R' has proved hard to deliver on.

Professor Alex Haslam of Psychology at the University of Exeter said: "Throughout history we see examples of great leaders appearing to be both 'of us' and 'for us'. This is the essence of charisma and was a key element of Obama's campaign in the 2008 presidential election. The economic challenges he has struggled to overcome since then have made it harder for him to be seen to as having 'done it for us'; this means that many Democrats now see him as less charismatic than they did four years ago."

Professor Reicher added, "If you look back in history, you see that Presidents like Franklin Roosevelt succeeded because Americans felt that they had a personal relationship with them. The paradox is that this came not through anything personal, but from a strong sense of shared group membership. Accordingly, in all US elections, a key battleground is candidates' capacity to define American-ness. This election is no different, it's just that the battle is on a new site."

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tadchem
3 / 5 (6) Jul 25, 2012
As long as he 'thinks' of every-day American taxpayers as "them", he cannot be one of *us*. The us/them distinction is cripplingly divisive.
The available options currently do not include one of "us".
parder_dade
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2012
Yeah he is one of something for sure but it ain't us.
ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (12) Jul 25, 2012
"Still"?
He never was.
RhabbKnotte
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2012
So let me see if I have this correct. The researchers state that Obama is far more likely to be viewed as charismatic by Democrats than by Republicans but research indicates that while Mitt Romney is seen as more charismatic by Republicans than by Democrats, those Republicans still find him relatively uncharismatic? So they didn't do a study on Obama and are making guesses concerning how people feel, but they studied Romney and have the facts to back up the statement that even Republicans find him aloof? But this is an article about Obama?

I don't like either one and feel they both represent what is wrong with the US. We have a pandering to the people mentality; remember corporations are people too!

I simply find the first paragraph to be incredibly biased in it's presentation.
antialias_physorg
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 25, 2012
"Still"?
He never was.

That's probably right. Then again, this presidential election is like outrunning a bear: You don't have to be a good runner. You just have to be a smidgeon better at running than the other guy.

And by that standard Obama is lightyears closer to the average American than I-own-a-quarter-billion-dollars-in-off-shore-accounts Romney.

Because sure as hell: He ain't one of 'them'.
Calenur
3.8 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2012
Why the hell is this even on phys.org?
flashgordon
2.5 / 5 (8) Jul 25, 2012
that's right, people vote not on logic/facts, but on what is socio-politically correct(whatever that is at a certain time).

The only reason Barack Obama got into office is because Bush Jr didn't get the economy going well; Bush Jr was in office because the people felt he was like them! Now, the people are going to vote in Romney because the economy isn't going well for them. The economy is a complex thing; but voting in Romney to reinstall the failed economic policies of Bush Jr isn't the answer.

Romney is them; but, he's got a bad character record going back to high school and avoiding Vietnam and so on and so forth; so, nobody wants to say "he's like us." But, he is!
ryggesogn2
2.8 / 5 (9) Jul 25, 2012
lightyears closer to the average American t

Not too many Americans were raised by a socialist in Indonesia, attended Ivy League schools and never had to have a real job.

Of course not many Americans had a father who was an auto executive, a governor, a presidential candidate and a cabinet secretary but he did spend most of his life in the USA and appreciated the capitalist system of the USA. Unlike Obama's family.
BTW, George Romney was an early advocate of smaller more fuel efficient cars at AMC and as the CEO could promote their manufacture.
The only reason Barack Obama got into office is because Bush Jr didn't get the economy going well;

No, it was because he was black, could read a teleprompter and had little opposition research.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2012
Too bad. America would be a better place if there were.

"Not too many Americans were raised by a socialist in Indonesia" - RyggTard

http://www.youtub...amp;NR=1
Vendicar_Decarian
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2012
Is that why Romney spent his days firing all those American workers and moving production to Mexico, India and China?

"Romney was an early advocate of smaller more fuel efficient cars at AMC and as the CEO could promote their manufacture." - RyggTard

http://www.youtub...amp;NR=1
COCO
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2012
both represent the same War Party - they support endless wars - bending over to the banks and the Fed - and the continued reduction of civil rites - if Amerikans had sense they would reject the non-choice and support Ron Paul.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.6 / 5 (5) Jul 26, 2012
Ron Paul seems to be a well disciplined, and consistently principled old man.

It is a shame that the Republicans rigged the primary process to insure that he had no chance of winning.

On the other hand, if he had become president, his perpetually failed Libertarian economics, and other lunacies, would have finished the ongoing destruction of America in his first few months in office.
COCO
1 / 5 (4) Jul 26, 2012
nice VD - hard to see what more anyone could do worse than your buds. Let us continue to kill indiscrimately - including your own citizens - leave the money supply to the benign bankers and continue the war on personal liberties that is the answer.
ACW
3 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2012
Obama won four years ago because he motivated the public about his hopes for "Change". After his term, he clearly has not effected the change that he promised.
On the other hand, Romney does not seem to have much going for him either.
PhotonX
1 / 5 (1) Jul 28, 2012
Calenur said:
Why the hell is this even on phys.org?
Scroll carefully to the top of the page, and see which section you're in. Here, to save you the trouble, it's Other Sciences / Social Sciences. It's not all physics here, despite the name.
.
Now, why did the editors see fit to post this on the top page? That's a better question.
SamB
3 / 5 (4) Jul 28, 2012
I see from the comments that the American people still do not recognize an intelligent, resourceful and graceful President. Go ahead and continue to shoot yourselves in the foot.
Hey, find another Bush, torture a few more enemies and go bomb a few more countries!..(You know you deserve to have it all)
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2012
If I cared I would actually ask COCO what it means.

But since the answer would probably be dumber than the original comment, I'll avoid it as pointless.

"hard to see what more anyone could do worse than your buds." - COCO
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (2) Jul 28, 2012
Your criticism is not applicable to 30 percent of Americans who are reasonably intelligent Liberals. The remainder are Conservatives who are dumber than dirt. They have destroyed their own nation, and the U.S. will not exist as a single nation in 9 years.

"I see from the comments that the American people still do not recognize an intelligent, resourceful and graceful President." - Sam B

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2012
He has been prevented from implementing much change by Republicans who were elected by the American people to prevent him from fulfilling his goals.

It is American idiocy of course. But that is the nature of American brain death.

"After his term, he clearly has not effected the change that he promised." - ACW
Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2012
Well, Romney is an expert is sending American Jobs overseas, and he did retroactively retire from his job.

Romney seems to be a congenital liar. That should make him very popular among American Conservatives.

"Romney does not seem to have much going for him either." - ACW
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2012
Well, Romney is an expert is sending American Jobs overseas, and he did retroactively retire from his job.

But he is an amazing scientists. He retired in 1999 and still signed his name as CEO in 2002 to legal docuiments. He MUST have access to a time machine.

Screw the tax records. If he just releases the specs to his time machine then he deserves to be president.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 30, 2012
I see from the comments that the American people still do not recognize an intelligent, resourceful and graceful President. Go ahead and continue to shoot yourselves in the foot.
Hey, find another Bush, torture a few more enemies and go bomb a few more countries!..(You know you deserve to have it all)


Why is he afraid to publish his university grades is he is so intelligent? Why can't he speak extemporaneously if he is so intelligent?