Published for www.commentarymagazine.com, June 19th, 2012
Eleanor Clift, writing in The Daily Beast, reports on a focus group of a dozen independent voters. The bottom line? They are souring on Obama – including many of those who voted for him in 2008.
To be specific, Democratic pollster Peter Hart gathered a group (sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center) in Denver last week. Nine of the 12 people voted for Obama four years ago. Today, only three lean toward him. Among the findings: (a) independents “aren’t biting” when it comes to the attacks on Mitt Romney on Bain Capital; (b) to the degree the public believes the economy is improving, the president doesn’t get the credit for it; (c) the president simply is not connecting with the voters he needs to win; and (d) there’s “no sense of leadership” emanating from the president.
“Whether it’s a failure of policy or of communications is debatable,” according to Clift, “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,” according to Hart.
One man, a 31-year-old Web designer and home remodeler who voted for Obama in 2008, said, “The whole platform was hope—I don’t feel any more hope today.”
Pressed by Hart as to which candidate he was leaning toward, this person admitted, “I don’t even know if I’m going to vote this time.” In Hart’s view, the young Web designer should be in Obama’s corner, and the fact that he isn’t is emblematic of the president’s problems.