Published July 23, 2012
No matter how effective the Bain Capital attacks on presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney have been, there has been no shift in President Obama’s position vis-à-vis the Massachusetts governor – as evidenced by recent polling.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are within one-point of one another in the latest polling from The New York Times/CBS (47% Romney – 46% Obama), Gallup (46%-46%), and Rasmussen Reports (47% Obama- 46% Romney).
Make no mistake; the Obama campaign’s Bain Capital attacks on Mitt Romney have been effective.
Mitt Romney has been put on the defensive – still unable to offer an answer to questions about evel of his role at Bain Capital during the years he was leading the organizing committee for the Salt Lake City Olympics.
And the impact the attacks have had on Mitt Romney’s own standing among voters is clear and undeniable.
Twenty-three percent of all voters – including twenty-two percent of Independents surveyed in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll said that Mr. Romney’s tenure at Bain makes them less likely to vote for him. Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen survey found that forty-one percent of voters see Romney's record in the private sector as a reason not to vote for him – up eight points from where it was several months ago.
But there is a larger narrative.
The larger narrative is a weak economy, declining confidence in the country’s economic outlook, and an all-pervasive sense that the country is heading in the wrong direction under Obama’s leadership.
A solid majority of voters (58%-28%) in the NY Times/CBS News poll said that President Obama has not delivered has not fulfilled his promise to deliver positive change for the country, while an additional 7 percent say he has delivered change that has been bad for the country.
Moreover, by a margin of 49%-41% the New York Times/CBS news poll found that voters believe Governor Romney would do a better job handling the economy and jobs than President Obama – and voters have more confidence in Romney’s ability to handle the federal budget deficit (50 percent to 36 percent), taxes (47 percent to 42 percent) and illegal immigration (46 percent to 38 percent) as well.
This is why Mitt Romney is still running neck and neck with President Obama.
The president’s position appears to be eroding – not because of ineffective campaigning, but because he does not have effective policies.
Indeed, to date, both candidates have avoided talking about what the electorate wants and requires.
The Obama campaign has concluded that it is much easier to demonize Governor Romney --who has yet to articulate a clear platform and program for himself—with polarizing, class-based attacks, than it is to distinguish a compelling Obama agenda.
I have previously argued that what President Obama and his campaign have to do is change the narrative by holding a summit to deal with the fiscal crisis, and putting forth real policies, rather than class-based political rhetoric.
I reiterate that call now.
Both the Obama and Romney campaigns are seeking to frame the upcoming election as a fundamental choice between two divergent visions and approaches to governing.
Romney, whose own personal ratings remain low, similarly has failed to outline clear policies. But, again, make no mistake. The only way that Mitt Romney will be able to deflect from the Bain Capital attacks is to put forth an affirmative case for itself and its policies.