posted on August 21, 2012 13:08
Rob Christensen’s column about “Walmart Moms” shows that this election is more about personalities and less about Medicare, the debt, competing budget plans, taxes or any of the issues that animate the media and political chatter.
The focus groups Christensen went to focused not on “issues,” but on personal impressions of the candidates and their strengths and weaknesses. The moms’ verdict: they’re disappointed with Obama on the economy, but Romney is “too rich, too aloof, and… somebody who did not understand their lives.”
They described Obama this way: “disgusted,” “frustration” “indifferent,” “it’s not getting better,” “disconnect” and “loss of jobs.”
But Christensen noted they “did not seem to be closing off the option of voting for Obama. Several mentioned that Obama couldn’t solve all the nation’s problems alone, and that he needed the help of Congress, who they also blamed. Several noted that Obama had inherited a difficult situation.”
One said: “I feel more compelled toward him (Obama). I feel he is more real. I don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings toward Romney.”
They described Romney this way: “clueless,” “fake” and “deceitful.” “One woman doubted that Romney had ever been in a grocery store.”
Another: “He is so beyond wealthy. And he has these accounts offshore and is secretive and shady. He’s just this billionaire, shady kind of mess.”
One spoke up for Romney: “I personally think when it comes to the economy you’re probably not going to get anyone better suited. And to me I feel that the economy is a big part of this election. You can’t be that rich, like everybody’s saying, without knowing a thing or two about money. Granted he may have screwed people over somewhere along the line, but probably Obama has and anyone else.”
This is why all the TV ads – competing, confusing claims about who said what and did what about Medicare and the debt and taxes and all the rest – may make little difference.
It will all come to down a Moment – or two. A moment in the debates or at the conventions or in some setting we can’t predict. A moment when these swing voters – and there are precious few of them – see something in Obama or Romney that pushes them over an edge.
It will come down to: Who do I like, and who do I trust?