So far, Barack Obama has tried to discuss nearly every issue but the one about which voters care most — jobs and the economy. Obama and his campaign have tried offering distractions such as same-sex marriage, contraception mandates, and hiking taxes on the rich. According to the latest Gallup survey, Obama’s effort has missed the mark entirely:
Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit score highest when Americans rate 12 issues as priorities for the next president to address. Americans assign much less importance to increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and dealing with environmental concerns.
In more bad news for Team Obama, the distraction strategy isn’t working even among Obama’s supporters:
Supporters of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney likely disagree on how best to address the major issues facing the country, but they both rate job creation and reducing government corruption among their top priorities for the next president.
The Obama effort to play the class-warfare card doesn’t play at all among voters in general, with tax hikes for the wealthy coming in dead last among the dozen issues included in the Gallup survey. It doesn’t even play well among Obama supporters, where it also comes in dead last. Job creation comes in at #2 for both Romney and Obama supporters, with the federal deficit slightly more important among the former and affordable health care taking the top spot among the latter.
Byron York believes this to be a warning to Team Obama that they are allowing Romney and the Republicans to gain a critical edge in the campaign:
The point is not that any of the goals listed by Gallup is insignificant. The point is that Americans prioritize what they want their political leaders to do, and right now, the things that are on top of the voters’ list — creating jobs, reducing corruption, and cutting the deficit — are issues that Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress have been stressing every day. And the goals the president has been stressing are simply not at the top of voters’ concerns.
Actually, I think this is worse than Byron thinks. Just as with the character attacks and the earlier poll from The Hill, the Gallup results show that Team Obama has been almost entirely unsuccessful at setting the narrative for voters. Successful candidates can set the narrative and get voters interested in their issues, and so far, Obama has failed to move attention at all from his poor record on job creation and economic growth.
Mitt Romney has a new ad out today hitting Obama on the issue that voters actually do care about:
Titled “The Right Kind of Leadership,” the ad hits on just the problem demonstrated by Team Obama’s lack of success in issue orientation. They’re not leading — not from in front or behind.