Cornyn to Holder: Resign | Main | Weak Economy Sours Independents On Obama, And Yet He Still Leads
June 12, 2012

It's Not the Economy, Stupid: Carville, Greenberg Again Find That Talking About Economic Progress Is a Losing Message


Democracy Corps, the political consulting group run by Greenberg and Carville, showed several Obama campaign commercials to focus groups in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Several of the group members, who were "all independents or weak partisans and ticket-splitters" and included both Obama and McCain voters from 2008, became irritated when shown Obama ads touting economic improvement. They don't see that improvement in their own lives, the report says, and they don't believe Obama when he claims things are better.


After extensive interviews with the groups, Greenberg and Carville conclude that Obama's current campaign message -- that he inherited a terrible economy but that now things are getting better -- is disastrously wrong. "We will face an impossible headwind in November if we do not move to a new narrative," Greenberg and Carville write, "one that contextualizes the recovery but, more importantly, focuses on what we will do to make a better future for the middle class."

Although the report looks bad for Obama, it was a reality check for me because these independent/weak-partisan/ticket-splitting voters dislike Romney as a person, calling him "out of touch" and insulated from the problems of ordinary Americans. One nugget that resonates with him is Romney's overseas bank accounts.

At the end of the day, though, more of these voters select Romney as better able to guide the economy back to health.

Although Romney's problems seem deeper than I expected -- and this jibes well with that analysis by Larry Sabato, noting that while these voters have almost as low an opinion of Obama's job performance as actual Romney supporters, and yet still don't support Romney -- I still think my general take is sound: Obama is, right now at least, the underdog. Romney has problems, no doubt -- Bain/offshore bank accounts/rich guy/"Horse Ballet" have had their impact -- but at the end of the day these voters prioritize the economy over the issue of Horse Ballet (of course).

I will also say this: Romney has not had what you would call a non-confrontational moment in the spotlight. All the stuff the public knows of him is from acrimonious debates and probing/hostile interviews (in which he often gets peevish and angry).

Obama, on the other hand, has had a lot of opportunities to just be friendly, loose, and human on camera.

In 1992 Clinton experienced what was termed a "Super Bounce" at his nominating convention. He gave a good speech, connected with the national audience, and finally looked like the gifted politician his supporters had thought he was. The media -- which was of course in his corner anyway -- wasn't far off when they proclaimed he "made the sale with the American public" with his presentation. (Even so, of course, he only got 43% of the vote, albeit in a three-way race with a serious third-party opponent.)

Romney hasn't yet had that opportunity, of course. But Romney's been involved in a lot of major sales.

Looking It Up: An old post of mine asserts that Clinton got a 16 point "Superbounce" from the 1992 DNC speech. I imagine that was in level of actual support (voter preference) because that's what they'd be polling at that time. But my old article doesn't specify. The historic average for post-convention bounces is 8 points, but I believe that old average is no longer operative: There are fewer true undecided voters up for grabs anymore.

Putting on my prognostication cap, I'm pretty confident Romney will get a big bounce from his (bigger than present circumstances would suggest, on average). He really has had no opportunity, yet, to make any kind of human connection with the public. Even a meh effort will still be 45 minutes of talking to the public without reporters or rivals sniping at him.

But I really hope he manages something more than meh.

More: It occurs to me that expectations will be Romney's friend. The Democrats have successfully painted Romney as robotic and Other; Romney thus has to appear to be a human being (which, in fact, he is) and to some extent he's already winning.

I don't know if this is true or not -- O'Reilly asserted it in an interview with Romney and Romney didn't want to talk about it. The assertion is that Romney actually gave up the inheritance from his father, donating it to charity, so he could make his own way. (Armed, however, with his dad's connections and a first-rate Ivy League education.)

If that anecdote is true -- For God's sake, Mitt Romney has to mention it in his speech. Don't give me this crap about being uncomfortable with bragging. It ain't bragging if it's true.

Context For the Superbounce: @justkarl tells me that Clinton got such a huge bounce because Perot had dropped out of the race (temporarily), and de facto endorsed Clinton by ripping the first Bush, so a larger than usual number of voters were, at that moment, up for grabs.

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:03 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Hermann Goering: "[i]German food is not good. Posted by: Cosmic Cha ..."

Ben Had: "Snacking on left over lamburgers. I need to open ..."

Eromero: "Guys, here's my strategy. Eat a salad for evening ..."

JT: " Now somebody with more smarts than me needs to fi ..."

Cosmic Charlie: "German food is not good. ..."

qdpsteve : "I also found a good-sounding recipe for New Mexica ..."

Quint: "I personally like the Kraft American cheese prod ..."

Moron Robbie - I choose to live my life as a black woman [/i] [/b]: " Mac 'n cheese in a grilled cheese is another ..."

qdpsteve : "I have a Screamin' Sicilian frozen pizza in the fr ..."

Moron Robbie - I choose to live my life as a black woman [/i] [/b]: "Happy birthday.  German restaurant is a good ..."

Cosmic Charlie: "McDougal is hot. ..."

qdpsteve : "Saw an ad at FB for New Mexican Red Chile Sauce. ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64