In my last post I covered Obama's Big Advantage, today I am going to break down what the Romney campaign must do to overcome it.
With 75 days left until the election there is a lot of noise, but one very quiet area - policy specifics. President Obama's policies are a known quantity. Some people know the details, some people know enough to understand them, and others are still forming their opinions. Point being, they are public domain. The same cannot be said for Mitt Romney. Sure, ads are out there about what he wants to do, but there is very little "How" or "What". This is a huge issue. You can go to the campaign site where there are a few videos or to his YouTube channel where there are almost 200 videos. We are hearing about "Mitt Romney's Plan" but we aren't hearing the plan. It is impossible to underscore the importance of this distinction.
Initially, it is paramount that they pull back on the negative ads. Currently the majority of commercials are attacks. We as voters have been exposed to negative ads for so long now that they no longer have the impact they once did. The voter is more intelligent and discerning than many in politics believe. Furthermore, it frees up money and ad space for more important communications. Sure there are some effective negative ads such as Our Time and A Clear Choice, but they are effective because they end on a positive note and set the stage for further ads by the Romney campaign. The shift in message needs to move to commercials like Believe In Our Future and The Right Kind of Leadership. These highlight the difference between the two candidates, and they begin to offer an idea of what he plans to do, and how he plans to do it. New ads underscoring the "How" must follow on the heels of these.
"How" Governor Romney plans do "What" he plans to do must start to be part of the dialogue, sooner than later. Right now, Medicare and personal attacks dominate the discussion, but this will change. Recent Gallup Polls of Swing State Voters and U.S. Economic confidence show a likely approaching electoral tidal wave. The economic confidence is "stable at a low level", meaning that it's low, has been low and is likely to stay low. Exacerbating the situation is the opinion in the swing states; more voters are blaming President Obama than President Bush (43), and of course a sizable portion blame both. Now guess who they don't blame - Mitt Romney. It is imperative that he start to put his plan out there to develop the substance that so many are expecting after picking a policy and budget guy like Paul Ryan.
Mitt's original plan included 59 Policy Proposals in a 160 page document. Clearly not many people read that. Recently they have moved to a more visually attractive and reader friendly Big 5 style plan. For message purposes, this is enough. Unemployment has been on the rise in 44 States, Gallup shows Romney leading 47 - 44 and Rasmussen has Romney leading 45-44. A quick note on why these polls matter - two words, "historical accuracy." Over time both have been shown to be consistently accurate, and in 2008 Rasmussen was the most accurate of all public data. What is most telling about both of these is President Obama's inability to get over 50% in the past three months. Additionally, the President's campaign has been on a big spending streak since mid April, yet they have seen no positive upturn. Still, Romney must start into the substance as soon as he can. Yes, what Romney is doing is working for now, but the shift is necessary to solidify, and enlarge his lead. Without this substance, the support will begin to wane.
On August the 31st, Governor Romney can start to spend the treasure trove of cash that his campaign and the RNC have amassed. Going forward, Mitt should start to sound like a broken record: "middle class, jobs, job training programs, small business tax cuts" and then to back it up, tell America "How."
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