Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Opinionator: A blog at the New York Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellenthorp

More bad news for John Edwards: He is “in the running” to become the Gilligan of the 2008 presidential campaign, writes Ann M. Mack, director of trendspotting for the advertising agency JWT, in a guest column for Adweek. (Thanks, Political Wire.)

Last month, JWT conducted a poll that asked Americans to recast “Gilligan’s Island” using “the six top presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney,” Mack explains. The question: “Which character from the TV show would each political candidate best fit?”

“Hands down, Clinton was cast as Eunice ‘Lovey’ Wentworth Howell, the rich, spoiled socialite defined almost exclusively as the wife of the millionaire, Thurston Howell III,” Mack writes. (Mack notes that survey participants perceived Hillary as “decadent, condescending and pretentious” but also as “persevering and persuasive.” They did not consider her “approachable,” “engaging,” “humorous” or “fun.”)

Rudy Giuliani and John McCain were regarded as the Skipper, Mack says. And the rest?

As for the other characters, Obama is the Professor, and Romney is tending toward Thurston. (Not too surprisingly, no one is clearly cast as Mary Ann or Ginger.) And Gilligan? Edwards is in the running to reprise the role of the bumbling, accident-prone SS Minnow crewman made famous by Bob Denver.

Don’t dismiss the survey out of hand, Mack says, because “you can be sure that personality—or perceptions of personality—will be a prevailing force in determining who’s the last person standing after America has spoken.”