Romney, Obama Both Struggle to Connect
A Commentary By Scott Rasmussen
Friday, August 24, 2012
When Republicans formally nominate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan next week, the race against President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be officially underway. Yet while the two teams represent different ideological views, different upbringings, different faith backgrounds and different experiences, neither of them has yet inspired any confidence among voters. Just 32 percent believe the economy will be stronger in a year if Obama is re-elected. Only 36 percent think it will be stronger if Romney wins.
This may be partly due to the length and depth of the current economic problems. Every single night for more than four years, a majority of Americans have believed the country is in a recession. The economists say that's not technically true, but it's what American consumers are experiencing. Only 14 percent now believe that today's children will be better off than their parents.
Another reason for the discouraging outlook may simply be distrust of all things political. By a three-to-one margin, voters believe that no matter how bad something is, Congress can always make it worse.
The candidates themselves are also part of the concern. Neither man at the top of the ticket has proven adept at connecting with working-class voters who hold the key to this election. In 2008, Obama consistently lost those voters to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. In this year's Republican primaries, Mitt Romney typically lost those voters to the "I'm Not Romney" candidate of the moment. Both parties think their No. 2 guy can help with this, while both also see the other's running mate as vulnerable.
A big part of the problem is that neither ticket really reflects the tremendous populist frustration with the political status quo that exists in the nation today. That frustration has been expressed in a variety of ways by the tea party, Occupy Wall Street and a solid majority of Americans. People want the government to change its ways so that it can once again earn the consent of the governed.
The Wall Street bailouts were the catalyst that converted this frustration to political energy. Remarkably, at a time when most Americans still believe those bailouts were bad for the country, all four men on the national tickets are on record supporting them. Somehow, the political class managed to keep those they see as barbarians out of the final four. Just 25 percent of voters nationwide believe the bailouts were good for the country, but those 25 percent are very well represented.
The political class victory also can be seen in the careers of the four candidates. Three of the four -- Obama, Biden and Ryan -- have spent their entire careers in and around politics. The fourth, Romney, has private sector experience, but he's also been in politics for a long time. It's hard to envision any of the four shaking up the club in Washington.
And that's the rub. Voters don't want to pick a new president for the club; they want someone who will shut down the club. Sixty-nine percent of voters believe the federal government has become a special interest group that looks out primarily for itself. They want a president who will focus on making the government work for America rather than forcing America to work for the government.
COPYRIGHT 2012 SCOTT RASMUSSEN
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentaries.
See Other Commentaries by Scott Rasmussen.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection,
publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events
in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence,
we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions,
sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics
provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day.
If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a
daily update newsletter and various media outlets
across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll
and commentaries are available for free to the general public.
Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year
that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections,
consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers,
Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs
and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.