James Carville was only half-right. In this 2012 election it’s still “the economy stupid,” but two new pieces of research are report that it it may not be Obama’s economic plan that voters want to hear about. One of the reports is from Carville’s own firm which states that Obama needs to change his economic message, the other from ABC News/WAPO stating that Independents are not pleased with Obama’s economic plan.
The Carville research was based on a series of focus groups so it is not quantitative, nor can it be projected across the country. Not surprising was that these voters reacted negatively to Barack Obama ads focusing on his achievements.
The spots that simply talk about progress on the economy did not do well. The first offered a graphic depiction of job decline during the early months of the recession and job growth under President Obama. The second highlighted progress on jobs in the automobile industry. These ads did not win over most Obama voters.
It is possible the auto industry spot would have worked better in the northeastern part of the state, or that it did not imply it was a metaphor for the economy getting better in general. Half the participants in the groups had voted for Obama, but less than a quarter gave this spot a positive rating.
The spot displaying the job growth graph did not fare much better: only about one-third (12 out of 34) gave this a positive rating.
Carville recommended that a Bill Clinton-type, biting ones lip and declaring “I feel your pain” commercial, would work much better for the president.
In the ABC poll, Independents see Barack Obama’s plans for the economy negatively rather than positively by 54-38 percent, which cannot be a good sign for Obama because with most national elections it is the independent voters who decide the election.
Perhaps their objection to the Obama economic plan is that most voters are still waiting for an economic plan–three and a half years after he took office.