As Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney goes after President Barack Obama on economic issues, he has more than the 8.2 percent unemployment rate to brandish as a weapon.
There are also the budget deficits of more than $1 trillion a year starting in 2009. Those deficits have helped push the government’s debt burden to $16 trillion, or more than 100 percent of gross domestic product.
A recent Pew Research poll showed that 74 percent of voters see the budget deficit as “very important” in determining who they will vote for in November. And the total rises to 76 percent for independents, who will likely determine the election’s outcome.
The good news for Romney is that among those who view the deficit as very important for their vote, 57 percent support the Republican, while only 38 percent back Obama. To be sure, among those who rate the economy as the most important issue, Obama carries a 4 percentage point lead.
So Romney might do well to focus on the deficit, rather than the economy as a whole, writes The Hill
’s blogger Christian Heinze. The Pew poll “shows why it’s in Romney’s best interest to talk about the deficit,” he says. “It’s proven to be very friendly territory for him — both in national and state-by-state polling.”
Three recent NBC polls in swing states illustrate the point, he notes. In Iowa, Romney leads Obama by 18 points on the deficit, but by only 5 points on the economy. In Colorado, Romney leads by 13 points on the deficit but only 3 points on the economy. And in Nevada, he leads by 11 points on the deficit but is tied with Obama on the economy.
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