There has been a lot of media attention on Senator Harris since the first live Democratic Debates in the 2020 election race. But can she make it across the finish line at the election?
To do so she’ll need to win over the Democratic party and gain their nomination. This means rallying the emotional support and enthusiasm of millions of people. How can we predict who is most likely to achieve this?
For me, there is one indicator that has proved reliable when analysing televised election debates over the past decade, that I believe is more important than the rest.
The next time you watch a TV debate try this — if you count the number of emotional reactions you hear an audience make, when a person speaks, you can gauge how strongly they feel about each candidate. This will give you a much clearer assessment of how the general population may react, than by comparing their policies.
This may seem overly simplistic. I’m certainly not suggesting that you can guarantee an election win from this, nor that the person who gains the most cheers will be the best leader. All I’m saying is this — elections are emotional. They are won by ‘swing voters’. Some people will always vote for one party or another, so it’s the people in the middle who need to be convinced. It is not legally required to vote. You need to emotionally compel someone to book time off work, travel across town, queue up for hours and vote for you. That takes more than intelligent policies. It takes a leader who can emotionally connect with the voters. If they can convince you with logic too that gives them a winning package.
For example, when I was interviewed on BBC Radio in 2015 I explained that Nicola Sturgeon, representing the SNP, gained six times the number of positive reactions from the live audience compared to Ed Miliband for Labour. At the election the SNP increased their seats from 6 to 56, while Labour lost 40 of their seats directly to the SNP.
In the Democratic 2020 race, Harris has so far gained the greatest audience reaction.