Do You Care About A Politician's Personal Life?
CHARLOTTE, NC- So... where is the line drawn between a politician's personal and professional life?
Experts say it's a thin line and it's all about a candidate's track record.
We ask, Can a politician be ethical in public if they're unethical in private?
UNC Charlotte political science professor, Eric Heberlig says President Bill Clinton went up in public opinion polls after the sex scandal broke in the 90's because he played his cards well.
"He was able to convince people that his focus was on doing the job, not on all these personal distractions and was able to weather the storm because of that. Herman Cain is different because people don't have that track record with him," said Heberlig.
Some say a candidate's personal life doesn't really matter.
"If they can do a good job as far as getting us out of this recession and getting us back on our feet again... it doesn't at all," said Rhonda Cooper, a North Charlotte resident.
Others says what happens behind closed doors is just as important as what a leader does in public.
"If you're not going to stand on principles in your own life, you're certainly not going to stand on principles for us," said Mike Campbell, a Mooresville resident.
Experts say a lot of people can forgive something bad in a candidate's past... until one scandal breaks that tips them over the edge.
Forgiveness can also be based on gender.
Psychologist Susan Morrow says men and women view what she calls the -zipper problem- much differently.
"Men can separate more than women. Men can compartmentalize more. It's the way they're wired,” sais Morrow.
In political races, like the one to choose the GOP presidential candidate, Heberlig says personal can override political stance.
"You can get the issues you want by voting for just about any of them. So, you're looking for other small ways to differentiate between the candidates. So, personal issues such as a scandal can be a huge liability," said Heberlig.
A Pew poll shows 11 percent of social networking site users followed or "friended" a candidate or political group during the 20-10 elections.