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Talking Points

Bill O'Reilly: The likeability factor

By Bill O'Reilly

There two are kinds of voters in America those who know what the issues are and those who don't. For the uninformed casual voter, emotion usually drives a decision and part of that equation is likability.

Many historians believe Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter because he came across as likable during the campaign while Carter was distant. The same thing with Bill Clinton and Bush the elder; the younger Clinton showed more personality in that race and won. Even after taking his lumps in Iraq, Bush the younger remained personally popular until the recession kicked in.

Right now in a popularity poll, President Obama is ahead of Mitt Romney by three-points according to a new Fox News survey. But after next week's debate that could change dramatically. There is no question that both Obama and Romney realize that they must come across as nice guys, that's why they go on entertainment programs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC "THE VIEW": We are very happy that you came on with us Mrs. Obama and brought your date.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I brought him with me.

WALTERS: Yes, yes.

MICHELLE OBAMA: He was -- he had a few minutes in his schedule.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I told -- I told folks I'm just supposed to be eye candy here for you guys.

MICHAEL STRAHAN, CO-HOST, "LIVE WITH KELLY AND MICHAEL": What is your guilty pleasure.

ANN ROMNEY: Oh a donut for me.

MITT ROMNEY: Peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk.

STRAHAN: What does Mitt wear to bed?

MITT ROMNEY: Really?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: Now, some candidates believe that they should not be dealing with trivia when the economy is awful and there is turmoil in the Middle East but they do what they think they have to do. "Talking Points" understands that Americans want their leaders to be accessible. They wanted to know that powerful people understand them. That's why the President's campaign has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to demonize Governor Romney as a callous rich guy.

No one knows how many American voters are basically uninformed folks who vote on whims but it's safe to say the group is substantial, especially in a time when social media is diverting attention away from important issues. If you look at newspaper circulation and TV news ratings you might come to the conclusion that about half the country is simply uninformed, they don't know anything.

Certainly the folks are not paying as much attention on serious things as they did when there were only three networks and no Internet. Remember those days?

And that's "The Memo."

O'Reilly Factor, hosted by Bill O'Reilly, airs on Weekdays at 8PM ET on Fox News Channel.