The candidates in a word

What one word would you use to describe President Obama? Gov. Romney? Vice President Biden? Rep. Paul Ryan?

The Pew Research Center asked and created a fascinating one-word look at four leaders.

For Obama the top reference was “good/good man.” The first negative — failed — came in fourth.

For Romney, it was “honest.” His first negative — liar — came in ninth. (The survey on questions about Ryan and Romney were conducted a week earlier than that of Obama and Biden.)

“About four-in-ten (43%) of those who offered a one-word description used a positive term to describe their impression of Obama, while an identical percentage used a negative word….A Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey last week found that more people use negative than positive words to describe Mitt Romney: 42% of the words were clearly negative while 28% were positive.”

For Biden, it was “good.” His first negative — idiot” — comes quickly. It is the second most mentioned description. “Of those offering a word to describe Biden, 38% use negative terms, while 23% give positive words.”

For Ryan, it was “conservative.” His first negative — “idiot” — comes in 10th. “Of those offering a word, 37% describe Ryan in clearly positive terms, using such words as intelligent, good, energetic , honest and smart. Another 35% of the words used are clearly negative in tone, such as idiot, extreme, phony and scary.” Because the timing of the survey, it doesn’t reflect any good or bad will as a result of the fact-checking questions about Ryan’s convention speech. 

— John Robinson

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