After focus-grouping several cohorts of swing voters, James Carville, Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign manager, has warned the Obama campaign that it is turning off voters by claiming the economy is improving.
A memo released by Democracy Corps, Carville’s political consulting and polling firm, insists that Obama and the Democrats will face an “impossible headwind in November” unless the campaign changes its storyline to a future-oriented message that that appeals to the overburdened middle class.
According to the memo, focus groups made up primarily of independent, middle-class voters in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania who were shown Obama campaign commercials don’t believe that the economy is getting better because they are struggling in their own lives to make ends meet. “These voters are not convinced that we are headed in the right direction,” the memo states.
Even though these voters aren’t feeling the love for Mitt Romney–the former Massachusetts governor and businessman–by any means, the GOP nominee is positioning himself to pick up at least some of their votes:
Despite Romney’s clear weaknesses, when asked whether Romney or Obama would do a better job on the economy, more chose Romney. That is some measure of the challenge we face, since many have heard the president’s economic message.
Carville’s memo expresses worry that the Democrat hierarchy is trying to implement the wrong political strategy given these poor economic conditions:
It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail
In a related development, in the aftermath of Gov. Scot Walker’s Wisconsin recall election victory, Rasmussen is out with a new poll showing Romney leading in that swing state: