Political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen says both presidential candidates are failing miserably at connecting with the American people with a clear message that lays out exactly what their plans are for dealing with the stalled economy.
But Schoen told Fox News contributor Dana Perino Monday night that Mitt Romney runs the greater risk the longer he delays in adopting “a positive strategy” focusing on what he would do as president because the Obama campaign’s negative attacks are working to paint the former Massachusetts governor as an unacceptable alternative.
“I think he should announce his vice-presidential candidate. I think they should go on the road with a clear message, clear principles, and most of all, a vision for where they want to lead America,” said Schoen, a Newsmax contributor. “Bottom line, the Republicans have yet to articulate a clear view, a clear vision, and a direction for the country.
“Gov. Romney has got to change, and he’s got to change quickly because, as nervous as the Obama people are, their campaign is working,” he said
But Schoen said both campaigns are in effect ignoring reality by focusing on things that don’t rank very high on any list of voter concerns, according to recent polls. He cited President Barack Obama’s focus on raising taxes on the wealthy as an example, calling it the “political equivalent of cotton candy.”
“Tastes great, but there’s not much there,” said Schoen, who was also a political adviser to former President Bill Clinton. “Sounds good, but it doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t reduce the debt or deficit, and it doesn’t do anything to change the endemic culture of corruption in Washington.”
He said distrust of government is dominating the views of voters as the November election approaches. The negative campaigning on both sides reinforces that dissatisfaction.
“Both campaigns — bluntly — are not speaking to the issues the American people care about,” he said. “Both campaigns haven’t distanced themselves from politics as usual, lobbyists, campaign contributors who seek influence. And bottom line, I think the American people are fed up.”
At the moment, Schoen said, the election is “polarized,” with hardcore Democrats staying with Obama and Republicans with Romney.
But he said the “results-oriented” independents, which now make up about 5 percent to 7 percent of the undecided votes, are the ones really waiting to hear a clear message from the candidates on their plans “to create jobs, to grow the economy, to get America moving.”
“They want to hear what neither candidate is talking about, which is pro-growth policies, stimulating the economy and doing what the American people need, which is to get us moving, not playing politics, not class warfare, and not supporting policies that won’t work,” he said.
Unless the American people begin hearing something different by Election Day, both candidates run the risk of voters not turning out.
But more damaging for Romney, he said, is the possibility that voters who do show up at the polls will decide “to stick with President Obama” because they haven’t heard anything really new or positive from Romney.
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