Report on Democracy Corps national survey on presidential narrative
The campaign has reached a tipping point where we believe the president has to offer a bold narrative, policies, and choice if he is to win re-election and get to a substantial enough victory that enables him to govern and face the great challenges ahead. The first debate really did disrupt the race and presents a painful real-time test of what happens when the president tries to convince people of progress and offer a very modest vision of future change. Voters are not looking for continuity but changes that help the average Joe.
Up until now, with Romney campaigning solely on Obama’s failures, a focus on America’s middle class was enough. But it is now – and there are enormous opportunities for the President to use this moment. In the first debate, Obama did not make a bold case for the bold policies he would offer in the next four years. In the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden thankfully struck blows on Romney's authenticity, duplicity, truthfulness, coziness with the rich and disregard for the middle class, but he gave no hint of Obama's plans for jobs and growth.
In dial-meters conducted by Democracy Corps for Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund during the debate, Obama lost the attention of independents and unmarried women when he spoke about economic progress or talked about the progress of the last four years. With most of the President’s surrogates saying, “give him more time to finish the job” and with the President closing the debate making the same small offer, Romney got the opportunity to be heard as the voice of change.
Obama won most support when he said what he would do to make the economy better in the years ahead, but both Romney and Ryan spent much more time on that future and sounded like they had a real plan to make the economy better.