This is not new. Most Americans say they loved Ronald Reagan's policies. But show the policies without his name on them, and most express disapproval.
The lesson is that branding works. Even in politics.
It is the one area where I wish branding could be disallowed. (Were it possible, that is, which it is not.) When a brand image leads you to choose a hand soap that disappoints, there is little potential harm. Not so when it comes to choosing political leaders.
Of course, Americans generally have no clue when they vote for a brand more than for issues and ideologies. Tell them, and they will vehemently deny it. Or they will concede that others vote that way, but not them.