From May 5-11, 2012, I conducted a survey of 6,000 likely voters. On such a mammoth sample, the margin of error is less than 1 percent. I found that Romney has amassed a sizable lead over Obama of 51-42, far in excess of what published polling and surveys of registered — as opposed to likely — voters are indicating.
If Romney were to win 51 percent of the vote, the election would, of course, be very close. But if he could hold Obama to 42 percent, it would be a landslide. So the obvious question is how Romney should go about winning the voters in between.
To answer this question, I drilled down in my sample to these undecided voters, none of whom voted for Romney in the survey. I added to their ranks those who voted for Obama but indicated that they only “somewhat” approved of his performance in office. This left me with a sample of 1,500 likely voters who are in play. The data in this column reflects their views. If Romney can win a quarter or a third of their votes, he will win by a landslide margin of 10 points.
On the economy, 46 percent of these swing voters do not believe that there is any recovery. Twenty-three percent say the economy is the same as when Obama took office and an additional 23 percent say it is worse. Thirty-nine percent say the jobs situation has not improved. Twenty-five percent say it is the same and 14 percent say it is worse. And 37 percent agree with the statement that “if we look around, there isn’t real evidence that we are actually making progress.”
Specifically, swing voters do not believe that the unemployment rate drop Obama heralds is real. Forty-nine percent agree that “the only reason it goes down is that each month more people give up even looking for work.”
So Obama’s claims that we are climbing out of the recession fall short with almost half of the swing vote. Indeed, 31 percent of swing voters say that “Obama’s policies have made the recession worse.”
About a third of swing voters squarely blame Obama’s borrowing and spending as the culprit for the failure of the economy. Thirty-six percent agree that “the deficit and debt Obama’s program caused did more harm that the spending did good. His cure was worse than the disease.”
Forty-four percent of swing voters believe that “if we cut government spending and borrowing, we could recover much more quickly.”
A third of swing voters — 31 percent — reject the president’s argument that “if it were not for Obama’s policies, things might have been even worse.”
Finally, 44 percent of swing voters agree that “if we reelect Obama, he’ll just do more of the same.”
Romney has the ability to slice off a third of the undecided swing voters by way of a major attack on the economy, thereby lifting him well above the 50 percent threshold. Swing voters:
• Challenge Obama’s assertion that we are recovering and that unemployment is dropping.
• Lay the blame for the economic stagnation on his “spending and borrowing” and suggest that with less of each, things would improve much more quickly.
• Believe that “his cure is worse than the disease” in that “the borrowing has done more harm than the spending did good.”
• Are convinced that if we reelect Obama, we have only more spending and borrowing to look forward to and that the results will be the same.
Will Romney exploit the vulnerabilities this poll suggests? Only time will tell.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Clinton, is the author of Outrage, Fleeced, Catastrophe and 2010: Take Back America — A Battle Plan. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail or to order a signed copy of their latest book, Revolt!: How To Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs — A Patriot’s Guide, go to dickmorris.com.