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Independent Voters Souring on Obama

They backed him last time, but now say they see the president as a weak leader. Five months from Election Day, can the White House hear the harsh message pollsters are sending?
How tough an uphill climb does President Obama face with independent voters?


If the findings of a focus group conducted this week are any indication, a steep one indeed.

Nine of the 12 people gathered in Denver on Tuesday voted for Obama in ’08, but only three lean toward him at this point. They are a cross-section of America, working in real estate, health care, IT, and sales, and they’re torn between a president whose performance they say has been underwhelming and who doesn’t deserve reelection, and a challenger they know very little about beyond the fact that he’s a rich and successful businessman.

When Democratic pollster Peter Hart probed for their thoughts about Bain Capital[url=https://webmail.iac.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=spIChaSAS0aBDZRiwQm1DOCfNKP1Hc8I84F0gZoouGBbns_tD5l5T33zBloCiu4pz26oAOovPlc.&;URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.thedailybeast.com%2fvideos%2f2012%2f06%2f14%2fobama-this-election-is-about-our-economic-future.html][/url], the private-equity firm that Mitt Romney headed, nine of the group opted out, saying they didn’t know enough to talk about it. Of the three who ventured they knew “a little,” one said “Mitt ran it,” while another said “He did well,” three words that sum up the Obama campaign’s challenge as they try to tarnish what Hart has called Romney’s “halo effect” on the economy. They aren’t biting on Bain.

Listening to these voters for over two hours, it was clear that their assessment of the economy is not as bleak as one would suppose, given their disaffection from Obama. They generally agree that the economy is improving, but Obama doesn’t get credit for a recovery that, while slow, is moving in the right direction—the core of his message for a second term. A few cited what they called “little things” Obama has done for the economy, like reining in credit-card companies, but no one could cite major accomplishments that would measure up to the expectations aroused by Obama as a candidate who promised to bring about transformative change.

This Denver group was sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and Hart’s findings add to a growing chorus of concern among Democrats not directly aligned with the Obama campaign that the president is not connecting with the voters he needs to win. Asked if he was feeling the heat from his allies in the Obama camp, Hart told The Daily Beast, “They know who I am, and that I’m a straight-shooter, and I’m totally in their corner. Sometimes being in their corner means telling them the truth.”

“The whole platform was hope—I don’t feel any more hope today.”

Whether it’s a failure of policy or of communications is debatable, but the sense of disillusionment with Obama’s performance is real. “He set up expectations that began 46 months ago, and they only grew over time,” says Hart. He singled out Jeffrey, a 31-year-old Web designer and home remodeler, as the voter Obama most needs and might not get. Jeffrey voted for Obama last time.

“The whole platform was hope—I don’t feel any more hope today,” he said. Pressed by Hart as to which candidate he was leaning toward, Jeffrey said the tenor of the campaign turned him off, that he felt like he was in the middle of a weird argument between a husband and wife, and all he wanted to do was leave the room. “I don’t even know if I’m going to vote this time,” he said glumly.

The crux of Obama’s challenge is to win back enough of the voters who have lost confidence in him, and in his ability to make government work for them. “Does that person even vote?” Hart later wondered. In his view, the young, bearded Web designer should be in Obama’s corner, and the fact that he isn’t is emblematic of the president’s problems.

While the results of this focus group forecast trouble for Obama, they also point to an opening, which is to “get beyond the rat-a-tat of the present and take it to the future,” says Hart, a process begun by Obama with his economic speech in Cleveland Thursday. A sustained effort, and not just a one-stop speech, could reframe the race.

There’s an opening, too, for Romney if he can build on the general impression voters have of him as a good businessman, and “make voters feel comfortable that he’s not going to dismantle everything we have,” says Hart, when it comes to health care and other social support programs.

Asked which candidate these voters would like to attend a baseball game with, nobody wanted to go with Romney except to have him pick up the tab, giving Obama a substantial edge in likability. Both candidates came up short on a more subtle leadership exercise. Asked how each would perform if they were lost in the forest with nine friends, the group concluded Romney would use his super-duper expensive phone to call for help, with Donald Trump and wife Ann Romney topping the call list, while Obama would give a pep talk and then retreat to the sidelines. There’s the campaign in a microcosm.

For Obama, this was a devastating departure from how voters responded to a similar question four years ago, when they said then candidate Obama would work with you, reason with you, and bring out the best in you. This time, says Hart, there was “no sense of leadership.” These are hard-nosed assessments five months out from the election, and the Obama campaign ignores them at its peril. Hart is a highly respected pollster with four decades of experience. Soft-spoken and generally cautious in his conclusions, people pay attention when he sounds the alarm.




http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/15/in-focus-group-independent-voters-souring-on-obama.html


Added: Jun-15-2012 Occurred On: Jun-15-2012
By: yorba
In:
Politics
Tags: independent voters obama, no hope, focus group independents, re-election strategy, blame Bush
Views: 2011 | Comments: 46 | Votes: 2 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • Have no fear, Obama has just sold out to illegals in an effort to prop up his failure of a presidency. The Panderer in Chief has ridden again.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @yorba such fuckin bs man, they already enacted here in CA a bit ago also, now this is nationwide

      politically its genius because he's about to be the largest latino fundraiser next week, he gets the latino vote, romney has latino history and yet he doesn't have much of stance compared to obama, while obama's made a choice romney hasn't

      dream act is just fuckin open amnesty i could be younger than 16 and show up a year from now and say i've been living here for 3 and i'd get accepted by the dre More..

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @mylostsoul bullshit. it just shows he's losing votes. why would would he have to shore up a voting block he carried handily in 2008?

      because HE IS LOSING HIS ASS

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @nickgj83 thats what im saying, he's trying to stem the flow of people not going to vote for him this election

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @nickgj83 That's an awful bold prediction there, Romney voter.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @mylostsoul "politically its genius" NO! it's enormously stupid, he has sealed his fate.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • You had to be one stupid fucking sheep to vote for this ass clown in the first place. the best thing to do if you voted for Obama is to kill yourself and spare the world your fucked up genetics.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • Obama is bypassing Congress to give amnesty to illegals under the age of 30, AND wants to start a jobs program for illegals--who will then compete for scarce jobs against the rest of us. (Well, duh, right?) It is the point of no return for the Democrats.

    Obama's second term is toast. I am now certain of it.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @moanranger

      He's going on the Neocon plans. Bush also wanted amnesty and a job plan for illegals who are already here.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @Loomfries It was a stupid idea then and it is a stupid idea this time around.

      At this point it doesn't really matter what the other guy did or tried to do.

      The only thing that matters today is that Obama is at bat.

      Let's all hope he strikes out before too much damage is done.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @aussite
      True,

      However under Obama there has been record deportations via Homoland Security. This would be a Neocon's (Like Romney's) DREAM and opportunity to be able to take the Neocon and Liberal vote for the win. You think Romney would now say he wouldn't agree with this? A "Plan" to put the immigration issue to bed?

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @Loomfries I actually have no faith in either of them at this point but as far as the lesser of two evils goes?

      I'd prefer to take my chances with Romney rather than the current idiot in residence in the big house.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @aussite

      Just curious, how is Romney the lesser of the two? Oh and Reagan was up for Amnesty as well. Just cheaper than to kick out Brown and Yellow people.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • Independant voters backed him last time, but now say they see the president as a weak leader,lol that is an understatement,he is a glorified community organizer who won a presidential term because of people voting for the color of a man's skin. It is way past time for America to wake up before it's too late.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user 'Amusing' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • thank God ,,the mexican illeagals will save us all,,,yea ok

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • Conservative Democrats found out the hard way.

    They ended up voting for a Socialist.

    They won't make the same mistake this time around.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • He has lost voters because his policies suck and he talked out of his ass. He hasn't followed through with shit.

    Don't be such a shyster and maybe people will vote for you, Barry.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • Obama just helped screw America over little bit more. He just passed a bill about 'limited deportations of illegals'.

    He is doing all what he can to get a second term.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'Amusing' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • DOES IT REALLY FUCKING MATTER? WHAT CHOICE ARE THERE? OBAMA OR MITT! I CHOOSE FUCKING NEITHER! AMERICA IS HEADED DOWN THE DRAIN!.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • And they're all voting for Ron Paul. Cause if you think they're going Romney you need to stay off them bath salts.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • It's looking more and more like this election is really going to come down to the debates. People may not be completely satisfied with the state of the economy, but Obama has maintained high personal likeability ratings compared to Romney and the gender gap is still a huge problem for the GOP. If Romney comes out looking like a flip flopping Max Headroom Robot that regurgitates Neo-con polices and defends the Evangelical view on women's health issues he's probably gonna lose.

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @picklethepug his new amnesty plan, lets hear you defend that.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @nickgj83 So what you're saying is, Latinos were all going to vote for Romney until Obama announced this plan? Whatever dude.... the candidates' positions on immigration are no secret. Latinos have long known the differing party stances on this issue. This announcement makes no difference.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @picklethepug are you nuts? or just illiterate? i didn't say anything like that.

      the fact is he carried the latin vote vote in 2008 handily, meaning no reason to shore up a voting block you already own.

      so his action today just means he is bleeding votes in other areas.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @nickgj83 Are you fucking retarded? 5 minutes ago you called it vote pandering, now you say it makes no difference. With flip flopping like that it's no surprise you're voting for Romney. Good luck!

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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    • @nickgj83

      Lol, wait until you hear Romney's plan for illegals until you think any further.

      Immigration into the U.S. is at a near halt right now, Romney knows it and has no argument. He's going to also have to stay on the Neocon Bush path with an amnesty and job program. He probably planned on doing this a month from now, except Obama beat him to it.

      Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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  • This is what the voters will think when they arrive in the voting booths.

    "Hmm, well, Obama hasn't made good on ALL his promises... let's see who else I can vote for... oh yes, Romney, the evil robot. I guess Obama it is!"

    Posted Jun-15-2012 By 

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