One aspect of the battle for the Presidency over time, particularly in the age of modern media and national campaigning, is the personality of the candidates, and whether a person running for the Presidency is “cool” or “stiff” with people.
When one investigates this from the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 onward, in most cases, but not all, the “cool” , more personable, candidate wins.
This happened with FDR against Herbert Hoover in 1932, against Alf Landon in 1936, against Wendell Willkie in 1940, and against Thomas E. Dewey in 1944.
It also occurred with Harry Truman against Dewey in 1948; Dwight D. Eisenhower against Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, and John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon in 1960.
1964 was a rare year, where Barry Goldwater seemed more personable by far than Lyndon B . Johnson, but the Johnson campaign successfully depicted Goldwater as dangerous and extremist.
In 1968, Hubert Humphrey was certainly more gregarious and warm than Richard Nixon or George Wallace, but still lost, due to the Democratic split over the VIetnam War; and in 1972, George McGovern came across as more trustworthy and personable than Richard Nixon, but was depicted as extremist and radical in a way similar to Goldwater eight years earlier.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a new face on the scene, came across as more personable than Gerald Ford, who seemed stiff and uncomfortable to many.
By 1980, Ronald Reagan easily came across to Americans in a more charming manner than Jimmy Carter, and Walter Mondale never could overcome the Reagan mystique in 1984.
In 1988, neither George H. W. Bush nor Michael Dukakis came across as personable, the only time in modern history that such a situation existed.
In 1992 and 1996, Bill Clinton easily came across much better in personality than Bush or Bob Dole.
George W. Bush definitely had the edge in his personality in 2000 and 2004 against Al Gore and John Kerry.
And Barack Obama had a clear advantage over John McCain in 2008, and certainly has that edge as well against Mitt Romney in 2012.
In conclusion, only Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon were the less personable candidate when they ran in 1964, 1968, and 1972, and only in 1988 could it be said there was no difference between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis in the level of their “coolness”.
The conclusion is that the more personable or “cool” candidate has a clear edge in the modern era in being elected to the Presidency!