On FoxNews Sunday yesterday, Bill Kristol pointed to a poll which showed why Mitt Romney is lagging in the polls despite the sour economy:
“I think the Fox News poll actually has the key to what the problem is for the Mitt Romney campaign. Do you think Barack Obama has a clear plan for improving the economy or not? Yes, 41; no 53. It’s not great for an incumbent president. The economy is slow. And you are only at 41-53,” said Kristol.
“Do you think his challenger, Gov. Romney, has a clear plan for improving the economy or not? Yes, 27; No, 55,” he continued.
“I don’t think you can beat an incumbent president, even if the economy is slow, if 27 percent of the voters think you as the challenger don’t have a clear plan for improving the economy,” Kristol said.
Although Kristol tends to be a Gloomy Gus. He’s on to something here. So, just read the whole thing.
Given how close the polls are — and how high are Mr. Obama’s negatives, Romney could vault into the lead with a good one-two punch, one, fire back against the Democrat’s dishonest TV ads and two, make clear his plan for improving the economy and spell it out repeatedly at campaign stop and in TV spots.
Americans are far more familiar with Mr. Obama than they are with Mr. Romney, making it much harder for the Democrat to move his numbers. If voters don’t think the president, after three-and-one-half years in office has a plan on the economy, there’s little he can do in the next four months to convince them he does.
Romney, however, remains unfamiliar to most voters, particularly those who have yet to tune in to the campaign.
With just over one-quarter of voters believing Romney has a clear plan for improving the economy, it’s amazing he’s running as well as he is when the economy top voters’ concerns. Imagine how much better his numbers would be if just 40 percent of Americans thought he had a clear plan.
Romney needs to avoid the mistake made by another Northeastern Republican governor, Tom Dewey. He can’t run a complacent campaign, hoping the incumbent’s negatives will sink him. He needs to learn from a certain Western governor who not only campaigned for change, but put forward an economic plan spelling out how he planned to effect that change.
Voters routinely put jobs and the economy first in their concerns when contemplating their vote, and any other issue shows up a distant second. (In most polls, the second-place issue is the federal deficit, which isn’t a good topic for Obama, either.)