Are the voters paying attention to the important issues of the Presidential campaign? Do they realize what is at stake in this election? Do they care?
As the campaign heads into the home stretch, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that a sizeable portion of the voters are not paying attention to the campaign. Instead, I believe they are distracted by issues in their own lives, or they are turned off by politics, in general, and they are planning to vote according to their political preconceptions rather than through careful analysis of the issues.
Despite President Obama’s poor record over the last four years, Mr. Romney is polling behind in all of the key battleground states – Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin to name the big ones. Various polls show him down 5% in Florida despite 8.8% unemployment and one of the worst housing markets of any state in the country. He’s down in Ohio even though the state has had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country during the last four years, although it has been improving. He’s down eight points in Michigan, the state in which he was born and his father, George, served two terms as Governor. He’s down 14 points in Wisconsin, Paul Ryan’s home state, and eight points in Virginia. He has to win virtually all of these states, depending on other combinations of smaller states that are in play, and he is ahead in none of them.
Most perplexing of all, in a recent poll a plurality of voters identified Obama as more qualified to solve the country’s economic woes than Romney. That result was a real “head scratcher.” Anyone who thinks that really hasn’t been paying attention.
All these polls indicate that Romney has a lot of work to do. Somehow, he has to change his strategy to get his points across to the voters. He needs to be clear, specific and forceful. There are still over 6 weeks to go until election day, which history shows is enough time. But to quote that famous baseball philosopher, Yogi Berra, “It gets late early.”