James Carville and Stan Greenberg's Democracy Corps has been conducting focus groups of swing voters in swing states; a new report from the firm says that voters in the focus groups don't really see signs of an economic recovery, which means they're struggling to decide whether to vote for Obama again.
That's a message the Obama campaign needs to hear. But the concern trolls who've told Obama that he should never bring up Bain Capital, and that he should have rushed into the loving embrace of Simpson and Bowles, need to listen up as well.
First, on those allegedly awful, unseemly Bain attacks:
In the sustained flood of advertising, the one thing that stands out is how strong the reactions to Mitt Romney are-- particularly in Ohio -- where he has been defined as hurting workers in his work at Bain....
Romney is damaged heading into this race....
Respondents immediately volunteer that Romney is rich, out of touch, and in the pocket for Wall Street and big finance. That was true before we introduced any information -- reflecting the outside advertising on Bain that was airing at the time of the groups in Ohio.
[Romney will enact] policies that keep himself and his class where they are. There’s a certain – I think there’s a certain level when you get so high up the business where you’re making so much money that you don’t need where you just lose some of your humanity and you just don’t care. (Non-college-educated woman, Columbus, OH)....
There's quote after quote like this, all about Romney's wealth. And these focus-groupers aren't MSNBC-watching, coast-dwelling Ivy Leaguers -- they're people struggling to stay in the middle class in Pennsylvania and Ohio, many of them not college educated. They're responding to ... class warfare.
And when Carville and Greenberg lay more class warfare on them, they get angrier:
We gave respondents a fact sheet about Mitt Romney and asked them to indicate which items were most significant for them, both positive and negative. The top six responses were all negative and all focused on Mitt Romney’s personal wealth, Wall Street connections, and cavalier attitude toward those less fortunate. The single most important issue for these voters was that Romney holds millions in an offshore account.
Oh, and all those Simpson-Bowles cuts that people like Tom Friedman think Obama should have embraced a couple of years ago, and should try to embrace now, because it would guarantee his election?
These participants -- especially the non-college-educated men who have been affected personally or know someone who has -- are very sensitive to cuts in Medicaid, to disability, and food stamps. People rely on these programs -- and the protection of Social Security and Medicare. They just can't fathom billions of dollars in cuts to these programs.... In addition, the college-educated men seemed to recognize that when these programs are cut at the bottom, the whole economy is affected because people are unable to get ahead, spend money, and get the economy going again....
That's a response to an analysis of the Paul Ryan budget -- but why would an embrace of Simpson-Bowles be much more appealing to these people?
All you'll hear about this report is "Obama's in trouble, Dems say." You won't hear the trolls admitting that they're utterly out of touch with how voters really feel.