The Obama Campaign Would Prefer You Not Think About The Economy In November
Between the polls and the state of the economy, It's rather obvious why the Obama campaign keeps trying to change the subject.
Say what you will about the Bain attacks and whether or not they might be working, but once again we’ve got polling evidence that appears to suggest that Mitt Romney is opening up an advantage over the President on the economy:
WASHINGTON – Despite concerted Democratic attacks on his business record, Republican challenger Mitt Romney scores a significant advantage over President Obamawhen it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs, a national USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.
By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, those surveyed say Romney’s background in business, including his tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.
The findings raise questions about Obama’s strategy of targeting Bain’s record in outsourcing jobs and hammering Romney for refusing to commit to releasing more than two years of his tax returns. Instead, Americans seem focused on the economy, where disappointment with the fragile recovery and the 8.2% unemployment rate are costing the president.
Romney has the edge when it comes to being able to “get things done,” and the broad landscape seems tilted in his favor:
•Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are much more enthusiastic about the election, an important factor in persuading supporters to vote. By 18 points, 51%-33%, they report being more enthusiastic than usual about voting. In contrast, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents by 4 points say they are less enthusiastic than usual, 43%-39%.
•A record number of Americans express skepticism about the activist role of government Obama espouses; 61% say the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. That’s the highest number since Gallup began asking the question in 1992.
We’ve seen this in other recent polling as well, and while it hasn’t had much of an influence on the national polling yet, or even the polling at the state level, it strikes me as yet another demonstration of the fact that, at least at the moment, the economy is Romney’s strongest argument and it suggests that polls may start moving in his direction once voters start paying more attention to the race. That assumes, of course, that this remains an election about the economy rather than a referendum on the candidates. In that regard, the poll shows that the President remains more likable than Romney although, as noted above, it doesn’t appear that the 6 week long Bain onslaught has had much of an impact on Romney’s favorability ratings. At the very least, it’s done very little to move the polls.
As I’ve said before, this is why the Obama campaign has made such a concerted effort to try to make this race about Mitt Romney rather than the President’s record. They think they can one running against the caricature of Romney as the out-of-touch plutocrat, and they clearly are concerned about losing if the election ends up being a referendum on the economy. It’s a classic political strategy, of course. The question is whether it will work. Will voters really are more about Mitt Romney’s bank account than an economy that appears to be headed into recession yet again? Will they care more about Ann Romney’s horses than an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly high and job growth that is going nowhere? Will they care more about a car garage than the price of the food they have to put on the table?
Your guess is as good as mind I suppose, but it strikes me that diversionary tactics like the ones the Obama campaign is engaging in seldom work in American politics. If the economy is still in bad shape in November, voters are going to remember that when they walk in the voters booth. What the Obama campaign is obviously concerned about is the possibility that enough of them will be remembering it to toss what is going to be a very close election to the opposition, and send the Obama’s back to Chicago in January. That’s why they’re trying to change the subject.