Dem Firm: Obama's Political Message Doesn't Work

by Jonathan Chait | October 6, 2010

Democracy Corps has a new survey of the electorate. It trumpets findings that Democrats are picking up momentum (or, to be more precise, climbing out of a deep hole.) But the more interesting finding, to me, is that President Obama's message doesn't work:

We did test a robust form of the message that the president is using. It is painfully weaker than these messages. We made the message very populist and focused on continuing efforts to help unemployed, new industries that create jobs, and ending tax breaks for exporting jobs. It says that the economy shows signs of life, but the Republican candidate wants to go back to Bush and the old policies for Wall Street that cost us 8 million jobs. It is very strong with core Democrats and African-American voters, but compared to the other messages, it falls very short: 25 points weaker with ‘winnable voters’ and whites under 40 years, 20 points weaker with white unmarried women, and 9 points weaker with white older women. That message framework can-not extend the Democratic vote.

I'm not saying Democracy Corps is right. I'd guess that Obama tests his messages, and his pollster thinks the message works. But it's interesting to see a Democratic firm come out and basically accuse the president of committing political malpractice. (They do suggest a more populist message focused on Social Security and keeping jobs at home can move voters.)

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/78213/dem-firm-obamas-political-message-doesnt-work