The great debate of the last few weeks of this political season among the media, the political gurus, and the talking head class (of which I am one) is about the polls. It’s not about an assassinated US ambassador murdered in our unsecured consulate in Libya, and it’s not about the failed economic policies of this president that continues to diminish daily. No, it’s about polls.
Republicans argue: “How can Romney be doing so badly, when everyone knows the president is doing a lousy job? It must be because the pollsters are over sampling Democrats. Polls, as we are told a thousand times a week, are only a snap shot of certain period of time.
As someone who has read a lot of polls over the last 40 years, let me share some thoughts.
First and foremost, almost all public polls are showing a momentum shift towards the president. What that tells me is whatever Romney is doing isn’t working. The millions of dollars in television ads, radio commercials, direct mail and whatever else they are firing at you selected voters in the targeted states just isn’t convincing voters at this time. When you spend all that money and your poll numbers are going backward, it simply means your strategy isn’t working.
Telling the country that the president is a lousy leader isn’t working because most people already know that. What they still don’t know is what kind of leader Governor Romney is and whether or not he really does have solutions or if he just running on a successful business resume that is more than decade old.
Mr. Romney stated on ABC that he is "Pleased with some polls, less so with other polls." Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick and choose which polls you like and which ones you don't. Each campaign obviously spends millions of dollars on nightly polls, focus groups and other methods of testing voters.
What the Romney campaign has to know, just as the Obama campaign knows, is that Mr. Romney is not connecting with ordinary voters. Selling is an “Art form!” Let me speak plainly here: Gov. Romney, you’re not selling right, now you're confusing. You state that you’re going to cut taxes, but then not really. You’re going to repeal ObamaCare, but not really. You says you're going to cut the government and eliminate agencies, but you're not sure where and will have to ask the Congress for suggestions.
Mr. Romney had to be good at “selling” when he was running Bain capital. He obviously had to convince investors to give him money and he had to convince stockholders that he had solutions to fix the troubled companies they owned..
He now has to "sell" for the few weeks left in this “forever campaign.” He has to sell the voters that he is the leader that can get it done. He has to convince us that he has the skills to take this country through the tough times ahead to restore our economy for us now, and our kids in the future.
From the beginning of this cycle, professionals who have run campaigns have said: "If this campaign is about President Obama and his failed policies, Republicans win. If it is about Romney, Obama wins. Ironically, it’s not the negatives about Mr. Romney that the president’s team hammered him on all summer that is raising doubts about his electability. It is his own self-inflicted wounds and lack of clarity in his positions that has weakened him.
What I want and many others want to know is how Mitt Romney, the turnaround guru, the fixer of the broken Olympics, is going to fix the US economy. My counsel is don’t waste one more dollar, one more speech, one more campaign appearance telling me how bad Obama’s tenure has been and how many promises he’s broken. I know it and so do most other Americans.
You need to be bold! Tell me in the three debates ahead and the 5 weeks of campaign left, if you're elected what is your vision of what America will look like and what steps are needed to get us there. To paraphrase the famous “Nike’ slogan , just tell us how you’re going to do it!
Edward J. Rollins is a Fox News contributor. He is a former assistant to President Reagan and he managed his reelection campaign. He is a senior presidential fellow at Hofstra University and a member of the Political Consultants Hall of Fame.