Zogby: Obama’s Speech Didn’t Help Win Undecideds

Friday, 07 Sep 2012 11:57 AM

By Patrick Hobin and John Bachman

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President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday night was aimed to energize his supporters to work hard for the next two months, and undecided voters ignored both conventions and will only begin focusing on the race around the time of the debates, expert pollster John Zogby told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.

Zogby, president of JZ Analytics, said Obama’s convention speech “is designed to preach to the choir.”

Watch the exclusive interview here.

“He needed the support and the enthusiasm of the people in the room,” Zogby said. “They needed a rationale for why they should be fired up and go out there and work very hard over the next two months. I was very surprised when I heard news leaks from someone that the president would be talking about specifics. That just is not the venue, you know. Whether it’s a 76,000 seat stadium or 25,000 seat convention hall, that’s just not built for PowerPoint and those kinds of presentations.”

Obama’s speech won’t help him outside his own party, however, according to Zogby.

“Remember we’ve got about 10 percent who are undecided, on the fence, and those are people who are not going to spend the couple of hours watching the Republican or the Democratic National Conventions just yet. They’ll start to focus right around the time of the debates,” he said.

Conventions are becoming less relevant with every election cycle, Zogby said, as reflected in the television coverage.

“No great decisions are made at the conventions,” he said. “The delegates are already lined up. They’re very well-rehearsed and, you know, you can tell by the demand driven major networks who are barely covering them at all. If there was a real desire, you know, on the part of the broad slots of the American people to watch these conventions, you’d see a lot more coverage.”

The new jobs report which shows the economy added 96,000 jobs and unemployment falling from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent can be viewed two ways, Zogby said.

“Let’s just aggregate those numbers,” the political analyst said. “First of all, it’s 8.3 down to 8.1 and so for those who are just driving by and see it on the bumper sticker, see it very quickly, you can argue good news. For those who hear the term ’96,000 new jobs,’ well, from 4.5 million to now 4.6 million, that’s sort of the top line. That’s going to impress supporters, maybe some of those who are on the fence.”

“For those who are already disinclined to vote for Obama, or leaning against Obama, the interpretation will be well known, which is that jobs are not growing fast enough. Four hundred thousand or so who were in the work force left the work force and gave up. So there’s a little bit of both here for both sides. I suspect, though, that this jobs report doesn’t hurt the president.”

It will ultimately come down to how people feel, Zogby said.

“They’re both very important and, ultimately, it’s going to come down to how people feel and it’s not as simple or uncomplex as it sounds. You have almost two out of three who feel that the nation is headed in the wrong direction but then you also have a significant number who are saying, ‘But just who is Mitt Romney? Who is the GOP? Why should we entrust our vote to them?’ And so you have two actually flawed candidates and they spent a lot of time delineating each other’s flaws.”
Zogby said of Obama uses former President Bill Clinton judiciously, he could help sway undecided voters.

“Bill Clinton has a great way of communicating complex things to voters in a folksy, meaningful way,” Zogby said. “He tells the Obama story better than Obama tells his own story. So in that sense, number one, he set the table perfectly for the president’s speech last night, which, incidentally, was a very good speech. And then number two, if Clinton is used judiciously, not every day, not all day and not to everyone, but used judiciously to some key crowds and high profile events, he could be a tremendous help, particularly with undecided voters.”

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