The tide has turned. President Barack Obama has dethroned Mitt Romney as the candidate voters trust as better equipped to restore the economy, taking away a longstanding advantage from the Republican challenger, a new poll finds.
Let's start with a little background information. Since the day Romney announced his campaign bid, the multimillionaire former venture capitalist promoted his nearly 25 years of private-sector business experience as one of his greatest assets to offer the American people in contrast to the sitting president.
This experience, combined with the nation's sluggish economy and high unemployment rate helped form his campaign strategy, says Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
Writing for the Erie Times-News, Dionne says Romney campaign’s strategy from the very beginning was built on a set of once plausible propositions:
(1) a weak economy makes Obama highly vulnerable; (2) this election will thus be about economic and not social issues; (3) the strongest Republican argument is that the economy needs better management and that Romney is the quintessential economic manager -- "Obama Isn't Working" is still the shrewdest slogan he has come up with; and (4) Romney's business experience solidifies the claims of point No. 3.
Conservative pundits, such as editorial writers at The Wall Street Journal, agree. "The Romney campaign thinks it can play it safe and coast to the White House by saying the economy stinks and it's Mr. Obama's fault." says the Journal. "We're on its email list and the main daily message from the campaign is that 'Obama isn't working.'"
Now seven weeks before the November election, it appears as though Romney's plan isn't working.
In the last two weeks, according to the latest New York Times and CBS News Poll, released on Friday, voters have flipped the script.
Since the Democratic National Convention, voters have developed a sense of optimism that White House policies are working, with 47 percent of those surveyed saying the president was able to do a better job with the economy and create jobs, versus 46 percent who picked Romney.
"I believe the country is going in the right direction, little by little," Anita Young, 42, an independent voter from Ardmore, Pa., told the Times in a follow-up poll interview. "Are things moving fast enough? No, of course not, but Rome wasn't built in a day."
The poll results also showed that the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably than the Republican Party post conventions, the New York Times reports.
You know what, just look at the crowd of this convention, and then go look at the democratic national convention crowd. A stadium full of stuffy white men in suits, and then a stadium full of a diverse people from all walks of life, of all different ages and races. That alone tells me what America I want, and who I'm voting for. — a commenter on YouTube after watching Romney's RNC speech.
According to the Times, the poll also found that a "majority of voters embrace the president's vision of a country that emphasizes community and shared responsibility over self-reliance and individual responsibility, a distinction at the core of the debate between the Republican and Democratic tickets about the proper role of government."
We feel very, very confident
Both Democrats and Republicans say Obama has gained an advantage on the economy in part because Romney hasn't laid out specific plans for what he would do differently, the Associated Press said.
"What they want to hear from the challenger is some understanding of why the President's policies aren't working and how Mr. Romney's policies will do better," The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote in July 2012. They worried that Romney would lose ground with voters if he weren't more specific on his economic policies.
Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.
The most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll seemed to confirm this when interviewers asked people whether Romney has done enough to provide details about his policies: 63 percent of Americans said no.
In a recent column, Kimberley Strassel, a member of the Journal editorial board, gave Romney some pointers: "Americans respond well to A-B-C explanations of valuable reform," she said.
"(Here is what is wrong. Here is my policy to fix it. Here is how it works, with three examples. Here is the good that comes of it.)" Strassel wrote.
Stuart Stevens, Romney’s chief strategist, told the Washington Post that he believes there is a wide disconnect between the views of political strategists and pundits who populate the TV talk shows and the views elsewhere in America. “We feel very, very confident,” he said.
Just wait until the Debates
The question Romney faces now is whether to stick to his once tried economic message as the race heats up or seek out another strategy.
The Romney campaign chose door number 1.
Romney’s advisers say the latest poll results is nothing but a case of smoke and mirrors. Any Obama gains over Romney the media reports are gains from states that are pro-Obama,Associated Press said.
Rasmussen Reports electoral map.
Except for when they're not. (The AP reports that polls in several of the most contested states show the president with a slight edge.)
But anything could happen between now and election day. The candidates still have three debates next month to argue their case before the American people.
Romney says this will be the place for him to get more specific. "I think in the debates ... we’ll get asked questions of some substance. And I’ll be able to describe in the kind of complete way that I think people would hope to hear." Romney said, in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos last week.
But Obama isn't waiting for the debates.
With the polls showing independent voters, who supported Obama by 8 percentage points in 2008, now going for Romney by 6 percentage points, Obama's campaign launched a new ad Saturday ( shown below) in seven of the most competitive states; Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia — claiming Romney's economic plan caters to multimillionaires over the middle class.