Has The Public Tuned Obama Out?
July 24, 2012 20 Comments
During the Clinton administration and during the first 5-6 years of the Bush administration you could look at daily poll numbers and know whether the President gave a State of the Union or other major address. You could tell because their numbers shot up. Clinton often shot up 10-12 points, Bush 5-6 points. It hasn’t been like that with Obama, especially after his first six months in office. After major speeches, his numbers remained the same or went down. His first State of the Union speech was watched by over 52 million people, his most recent address was in the mid 30′s. People aren’t listening to Obama anymore and it has far reaching consequences for the campaign.
After over a month of solid Bain attacks, Obama hasn’t gained anything on Mitt Romney. In fact, several of the battle ground states have gotten closer in recent weeks. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, Romney was attacked by Newt Gingrich over Bain during the GOP Primary. That exposed the Bain attacks as being without warrant and on some level has made Romney immune. But we cannot ignore the fact that people aren’t listening to Obama as the polls indicate. As such, when Obama attacks Romney over Bain Capital the public just doesn’t listen.
This can also work to Obama’s benefit on some level. His “you didn’t build that” comments haven’t hurt him yet because the public isn’t listening to him. Couple that with the fact that Romney doesn’t have any money to spend because of election laws and Obama is sitting pretty after a major gaffe. It’s been alleged that Obama plans to go off the teleprompter more during the campaign, he really should think twice about that because “you didn’t build that” is a direct result of being off prompter. When Romney can spend his millions in October, you can bet that he’ll exploit every off prompter gaffe, which will hurt Obama more than the speech itself.
This is of course still a close race. There are at least 46% of Americans whose mind is made up that they’re voting for Obama. There are about 45% whose minds are made up they’re voting for Romney. That means there are about 7-9% who are undecided when we factor in third party candidates. These people aren’t listening to Obama anymore, which means they are unlikely to be swayed against Romney because of nasty attack ads. But they can be swayed by Mitt Romney because he hasn’t been tuned out yet.
It is up to Romney at this point, just over three months before the election, to start convincing the 7-9% who are undecided that he is a capable alternative to Obama. A recent poll by The Hill showed that over 2/3 blame Washington for economic problems, with most blaming Obama. Gallup finds that more people trust Romney to run the economy than Obama, with 63% believing his work at Bain is helpful. Rasmussen finds that 72% of small business owners believe they in fact did build their business. The 7-9% who are undecided are simply waiting for Romney to prove he is competent and capable.
So it’s up to Romney at this point to prove he’s competent and capable. He needs to pick a good running mate. As much as conservatives love Sarah Palin, she wasn’t ready for the Washington media scrutiny. Romney needs to pick a solid, seasoned running mate. Romney needs to lay out a detailed, easy to understand economic recovery plan and he needs to offer an alternative to Obamacare since he’s in favor of repeal. If he can do these things and appear competent and Presidential in doing so, this election is his to win. If he doesn’t do these things though, this election is his to lose because the public isn’t interested in what Obama has to say.