[Haley] Barbour’s firm Resurgent Republic conducted focus groups of blue collar voters in Ohio and suburban women in Virginia who supported Obama in 2008 but are now undecided. Both are swing demographics that Romney is working to win over in order to flip each state from blue to red.These voters may not be as keen on Obama as they once were, but they still find him a lot more trustworthy than the other guy. That doesn't bode well for the Romney campaign's efforts to lure them. Well, that and the part where the Romney campaign keeps saying genuinely offensive stuff (47 percent of you suck) versus things that you have to stretch considerably more in order to make offensive (who built what). So yes, I don't think it's particularly surprising that the anti-Obama stuff is sticking less.
Their findings? Voters are a lot more willing to believe attacks based around Romney quotes than they are on Obama quotes.
“Whenever we showed direct quotes from President Obama over the last few years, voters consistently say that this is probably taken out of context and they don’t seem to hold that same standard with Governor Romney,” pollster Linda DiVall, who conducted the Virginia focus groups, said in a conference call announcing the findings Monday.
The punditry is ablaze today with what Mitt Romney really ought to be doing in his debates, but precious little of it seems to understand the core Romney dilemma: He has nothing to ofter people like this. He's not offering them tax cuts, because they're not rich. He's not offering them freedom from government tyranny, because they're they're not energy companies or hedge fund managers. He's very, very quietly offering to cut whatever services they might rely on, and to give them worse health insurance than before, but both of those things have less-than-obvious appeal to anyone who does not need their own personal ideology validated. Mostly, he is running on the premise that America needs to be terrified of Obama because he might do a bunch of things he hasn't done—not an easy sell—or on the notion that Obama has not cleaned up the last Republican disaster quick enough, which only works if the listener has forgotten the "Republican disaster" part, which all polling indicates they haven't.
So even if Mitt Romney comes out as Mr. Swell Guy in the debates, the kind of guy you'd like to have a hostile takeover of a beer company with, I'm not sure how much that helps him. His problem is that he has no policies that help the people he needs to woo, and that his time for convincing those people that his policies might help them through trickle-down magic has largely come and gone.