Democracy Corps, the political consulting group run by Greenberg and Carville, showed several Obama campaign commercials to focus groups in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Several of the group members, who were “all independents or weak partisans and ticket-splitters” and included both Obama and McCain voters from 2008, became irritated when shown Obama ads touting economic improvement. They don’t see that improvement in their own lives, the report says, and they don’t believe Obama when he claims things are better.

“The spots that simply talk about progress on the economy did not do well,” Greenberg and Carville write. “The first offered a graphic depiction of job decline during the early months of the recession and job growth under President Obama. The second highlighted progress on jobs in the automobile industry. These ads did not win over most Obama voters….Half the participants in the groups had voted for Obama, but less than a quarter gave [the auto ad] a positive rating. The spot displaying the job growth graph did not fare much better: only about one-third (12 out of 34) gave this a positive rating.”

“It’s like how things are getting better? Where?” asked one non-college-educated woman in Columbia, Ohio.