Mitt Romney attempts to accomplish two things in his new, minute-long, open-shirt collared TV ad in which he speaks directly to the camera: Connecting with voters living “paycheck to paycheck” and arguing that “we can’t afford another four years like the last four years.””
“Too many Americans are struggling to find work in today’s economy,” Romney says in the ad. “Too many of those who are working are living paycheck to paycheck, trying to make falling incomes meet rising prices for food and gas.”
The results of the latest Bloomberg National Poll today suggest that Romney has an uphill struggle in making that connection. Asked which candidate would be the best in understanding your problems and struggles, 51 percent of those surveyed named President Barack Obama and 38 percent Romney. The poll shows an overall negative attitude toward Romney as contributing to a six-percentage point advantage among likely voters for the president heading into the first presidential debate next week.
Romney also says this in the ad:
“More Americans are living in poverty than when President Obama took office and 15 million more are on food stamps. President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families. The difference is my policies will make things better for them. We shouldn’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. We should measure compassion by how many people are able to get off welfare and get a good paying job. My plan will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years-helping lift families out of poverty and strengthening the middle class. I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message because we can’t afford another four years like the last four years.”
As Bloomberg’s David Lynch reports, Americans are better off as a nation, generally, than they were in 2008 — and Romney could be asking the wrong question about the last four years, the more poignant question being what’s happened in the past year.
“At this point in 2008, amid the worst financial panic since 1929, the U.S. economy was melting down, contracting 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter of that year,” Lynch reported. “Today, by most measures, the economy is in far better shape. Of 70 indicators compiled by Bloomberg, 51 — including growth, hiring, housing starts and the stock market — have improved from January 2009 when President Barack Obama took office.
“The economy was going off a cliff,” says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts, who has been tracking the economy since 1983. “Since then, we’ve been digging our way out of the well.”