There are some commonalities in the fields of politics and investments. We’re not talking about greed, profits and publicity and all that stuff. That is boring and irrelevant.
We’re talking about people vs. issues. Nonprofessional political observers are often baffled by outcomes of elections. How could that guy get elected? Polls showed a majority of people in the district didn’t like any of the bills he voted for and they don’t like the people (special interests) who donated money to the campaign.
That’s because when people meet politicans, they see friendly persons, who want people to like them and who like the people they meet. It’s hard not to like someone like that. And that’s why negative ads work. The opposition has to break through that protective wall around the candidate. Eventually you start to hear likely voters say, “That guy scares me.”
Huh? Where did that come from?
We were led to this rumination by Rasmussen’s latest update, which listed two telling poll results:
Presidential Tracking Poll: Obama 47%, Romney 45%
Majority Says GM Ownership Should Have Been Left to Private Sector
Other polls show the public still doesn’t like the bank bailouts, TARP, ObamaCare, immigration, abortion, gay marriage. But those are ISSUES. Obama is a nice guy with a nice smile. What’s not to like? It’s Congress which gets the blame for that. Oh, but not MY congressman. He’s a nice guy with a nice smile.
Another good thing about Obama is that he doesn’t present any difficult thoughts for listeners to process. Rich = bad. Student loans = sad. Working families = good.
In contrast, conservatives go on about wonkish issues like govt debt, the budget, bureaucratic overreach, foreign policy. That’s hard, boring and requires understanding complicated things like economics.
Investing has similar challenges. When analysts get on TV and are supposed to tell why Mr. Market went up today, they can only utter incomprehensible inanities and recite the five stock “winners” and “losers” of the day.
IFO, policy wonk that we are, rarely talks about individual stocks. It’s up to you to do the hard work of research and decide what companies and CEOs you are comfortable with and jump in. But isn’t it more fun?