How Do the Presidential Candidates Rank on Leadership? This Group Tells You Who’s Best

It’s easy to miss, given the flurry of public opinion polls, but there are a number of qualities that the electorate consistently cite as important factors when considering their choice for president. Among them are trustworthiness, effectiveness and the ability to lead. Of course, the candidates’ positions on the issues also weigh on voters’ minds, but it’s clear that the American people realize these more intangible qualities are indispensable in a Commander-in-Chief.

The Leadership Project for America PAC recently launched The Leadership Matrix, which ranks candidates on a series of characteristics and traits that make for a good chief executive. A team of eight ideologically diverse political scholars has developed a system that considers a candidates’ commitment to limited constitutional government, character and effectiveness.

For example, the scorers ask whether a candidate “champion(s) opportunity and fairness for all in the marketplace.” And in a subcategory on national security, the matrix looks at whether the candidate is committed to fighting terrorism and upholding national security while demonstrating support for the U.S. military.

Beyond public policy questions, the matrix shows whether and how a candidate has shown a principled approach to governing and has worked with ideological opponents. (The complete list of questions to determine a score of A to F for each of the main presidential candidates can be found here.)

Paul Mero, CEO of the Leadership Project for America, told Opportunity Lives that the leadership matrix is: “an attempt to provide a true apple to apple comparison of candidates…. We are trying to add some leaven into the political bread so voters can make an informed decision when voting.”

Because people are often entrenched in their worldview, Mero says, impartiality and objectivity can suffer. The LPA team combs the news daily and adjusts scores according to current events — for example, an important vote or a policy proposal from the candidates.

In the most recent Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida sparred over their respective legislative records on immigration reform. Despite previously expressing support for legal immigration and going as far as introducing an amendment that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status, Cruz at the debate tried to recast himself as the most anti-immigrant candidate running for the Republican nomination. “If this doesn’t go against Senator Ted Cruz’ character, then it goes to his political skills,” Mero said.

Of course, Cruz is not the only one that to face the heightened scrutiny that comes with running for higher office — which will make the Leadership Matrix a terrific tool for voters in the coming months.

Israel Ortega is a Senior Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @IzzyOrtega.