For some reason, Obama can't find effective messaging on the economy

Obama’s “win the future” message is a dose of Ronald Reagan optimism, but some Democrats worry it doesn’t speak enough to the immediate concerns of struggling Americans.

“He is in a box,” said Douglas Schoen, a pollster to President Bill Clinton when he was running for a second term. “There is no consistent course of action they are pursuing, so there is no strategy. Ronald Reagan said, ‘Stay the course,’ but there is nothing to stay the course for.”

The jitters follow a widely panned message during the 2010 midterm campaign, when Obama compared the economy to a car that Democrats pulled from a Republican-made ditch.

“Voters are like, ‘I don’t care who caused it. I care what you’re going to do about it. It’s your economy now,’” said Celinda Lake, a pollster who has tested economic messages this year for Democratic congressional candidates. The Bush era “seems like a long time ago for people.”

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