Romney voters motivated by Anti-Obama sentiment
As the Republican National Convention approaches, Mitt Romney is indicating that he may be just days away from annoucing his running mate. Many conservatives hope that Team Romney chooses a credible conservative, one that could excite the base. This is a dilemma for the campaign since, as a new WaPo/ABC News poll indicates, Romney’s supporters are more motivated to vote against President Barack Obama than for him:
Nearly six in 10 of those siding with Mitt Romney in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll say their vote is primarily “against” President Obama not in favor of the former Massachusetts governor, a testament to how much of Romney’s support is built on opposition to the current occupant of the White House.
By contrast, about three-quarters of Obama’s supporters are voting affirmatively “for” the president.
Romney’s support numbers are similar to those of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) in 2004 and Obama’s support numbers mirror those of President George W. Bush in his bid for a second term. The 2004 contest was close, but ultimately the “Bush protest” vote was not enough to put Kerry on top.
Romney may have won the votes of many Republicans because polls showed him having the best chance against President Obama, but he has never really held their hearts. Most conservatives I talk to don’t trust him because they see him as flimsy, someone who will change their views as the wind shifts. And it’s not like they aren’t examples of that.
The dynamics this year are different from the 2004 presidential election. Yes, the left was motivated to come out hard against President George W. Bush just as this right is this year against President Obama. But economic factors are dinner table issues for Americans, much more so than the anti-war and pro-civil liberties sentiment of the left during the 2004 election. We were recovering from a recession during that election as well, but the pace of recovery, including steady job creation, was better.
But as I’ve written recently, Romney has to do more to appeal to, not only his base, but also to skeptical independents. They’re the key in this election. They don’t want to be referred to some 59-point plan. It has to be presented in a way that is both easy to understand and in stark contrast to the policies of President Obama.
Playing the “I’m not Barack Obama” may get him a lot of votes, but clear and concise answers on how he is going to do things different are what Americans want to hear.