Michigan has become a clear swing state in the 2012 election, a new poll released Thursday by Michigan polling agency Foster McCollum White and Associates found. And a Democratic pollster warned that if President Barack Obama doesn’t change his message and tone in the campaign, he will be in severe danger of losing the state — and the election — to Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The poll shows that Obama’s lead in Michigan — much like in fellow Midwestern state Wisconsin — has all but evaporated. He has just more than a point lead in the state, a similar finding to an EPIC-MRA poll last week that gave Romney a slim lead. Here’s a nice pie-chart breakdown (Obama actually rounds up to 47 per cent):
Photo: Foster McCallum and White Associates
Why the slip in Michigan, a state where one recent poll by Public Policy Polling found Obama leading by an astounding 14 points? Eric Foster, president of Foster McCollum and White, told Business Insider that it’s because of Obama’s tone and message in the campaign thus far.
“It makes sense that there’s some shifting,” Foster said. “People would like to hear why I should pick you again. We’re struggling here in the state. It’s challenged. We’ve got a lot of fights ahead of us. Why should we pick you? The campaign has really been off that track for a while. Their message is, ‘The other guy is horrible.’ That’s not enough.”
Foster echoed the tone of James Carville and other prominent Democratic strategists that have grown increasingly worried about the narrative of Obama’s campaign. On Tuesday, Carville and the research group Democracy Corps released a memo that broke down why Obama’s economic message is not working.
“The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future,” the memo reads. “They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle – and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way – not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.”
Foster offered much of the same message. He said Obama’s problem is his tone with crucial voters that don’t see the reality of the message Obama is trying to push. Basically, Obama’s message that “the economy is improving enough” and his plea to “give me more time,” as Foster put it, is far from a slam dunk with voters.
What voters want to hear is his message for further improving the economy in his second term.
“There’s plenty of time to correct it,” Foster said, adding that a loss in Michigan would almost guarantee a loss in the election. “But it just says that was has been the message over the past few weeks isn’t working.”
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