GOP: Buyer’s remorse for ’08 voters
BY LYNN SWEET Twitter: @lynnsweet August 28, 2012 10:02PM
A delegate from Texas holds up an anti-Obama sign during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Updated: September 30, 2012 6:26AM
TAMPA — Republicans, with little fanfare, are showcasing at their convention what may be one of their most potent arguments to vote against President Barack Obama.
Summarized, it’s this: buyer’s remorse.
The message is aimed specifically at 2008 Obama voters and has nothing to do with overtly negative attacks.
It has everything to do with political psychology, giving disappointed Obama backers — some who may feel a bit guilty about giving up on Obama — “permission” to not support him again in 2012.
That’s been a theme of several ads running in select battleground states bankrolled by SuperPACs backing Romney.
The messaging is speaking to voters who were caught up in the euphoric Obama movement back in 2008 when they volunteered, donated and voted for the “hope and change” candidate.
On Tuesday, the Romney team, convinced they are persuadable potential crossovers, unveiled a video — titled “Switchers” — at the convention.
“I’m a lifelong Democrat that supported Barack Obama’s election in 2008. I caucused for him and went to the rallies and even donated to his campaign,” a woman says.
A man says, “Yes, I had high hopes for President Obama like all the other millions of people that voted for him. It didn’t turn out that way.”
“Everything that he promised he wasn’t going to do he did — and then some. And that to me is, sort of, unforgivable,” said another man.
The first man added, “We didn’t get hope and change. We got deficit and unemployment.”
The people in the video then lament the situation the nation is in — the lack of jobs, the deficit, the debt and Obamacare. They say they liked that Romney, as “a Republican governor in a liberal state like Massachusetts,” could get things done.
So it’s not so much that Obama is bad, it’s just, “. . . things will get a lot better if Mr. Romney is elected,” as they declare, “No, I’m not going to vote for President Obama this time around” and “I voted for Barack Obama in 2008; I’m definitely voting for Mitt Romney in 2012.”
A Romney staffer explained to me that the Romney ad team produced the video after hearing in focus groups “the disapointment many voters have with the president . . . after failing to deliver. . . . There are millions of disappointed voters . . . The president made extraordinary promises to change Washington. He ran a campaign based on inspiration and a promise to change politics as usual.”
The Romney campaign is informed by focus groups where voters complain that they “feel like they were misled and sold a bill of goods in 2008 that never materialized.”
The word that comes up a lot with disaffected Obama voters — according to Romney team research, is “disappointment.”
Especially in Iowa.
“Iowa voters feel a lot of responsibility for launching Obama,” the Romney staffer said, a reference to Obama’s 2008 Iowa caucus victory, crucial to his eventually clinching the Democratic nomination. “Iowa voters understand the Hawkeye state launched the president’s career. And Iowa voters are having a very serious sense of buyer’s remorse.”
Obama knows he has a problem with disaffected 2008 voters — and he addressed it Tuesday while stumping in Iowa, a battleground state he has been visiting frequently.
Said Obama in Iowa, “Frankly, some folks, they make it their political strategy to try — make you feel discouraged. They’ll tell you over and over again how bad everything is. Then, of course, they’ll add that it’s all Obama’s fault — and they’ll tell you that if you believed in change four years ago, your faith was foolish and you were being naive.”
Or you just wised up.