Obama and the Economy

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Last week I began to wonder: given that the economy is so bad, why hasn’t Obama taken off more in the polls? So I decided to head out on the trail and ask some voters. A pattern emerged (Romo and Hecimovich are two of the more than 50 people I spoke with that Obama encountered at the two diners and at one of his economic town hall meetings): two groups of economic voters remain undecided, fiscal conservatives from the right and blue-collar workers from the left. Some compared the race to 1992, only Clinton by this point had already secured many of their votes by this stage of the race with his New Covenant speeches and particular brand of empathy.

Obviously, polling people in diners is an inexact science, but in speaking to pollsters and analysts, the pattern was confirmed. Some of the disconnect is due to the fact that it’s August, as Obama notes. And McCain has successfully kept the focus on gas prices – the one economic area where he ties Obama — over the last month. I didn’t have space for this full Obama quote but I think it’s a refrain we’ll be hearing a lot of in the fall:

You know, John McCain and I have a fundamentally different view on our tax policy. He wants to give tax breaks to corporations; I want to give tax breaks to middle class families. We have a fundamentally different view on healthcare. I want to provide healthcare for all Americans and reduce costs for those who have it; McCain wants to put forth a Bush proposal that endangers the employer-base system. So, on a whole host of these issues there are going to be some very clear contrasts.

And, of course, the day I write that Obama’s been unwilling to label his opponent an out-of-touch elitist he unveils a new ad (script after jump) calling McCain “Washington’s biggest celebrity.” Maybe he’s also taking the gloves off.

ANNCR: For decades, he’s been Washington’s biggest celebrity. John McCain

And as Washington embraced him, John McCain hugged right back. The lobbyists – running his low road campaign.

The money – billions in tax breaks for oil and drug companies, but almost nothing for families like yours.

Lurching to the right, then the left, the old Washington dance, whatever it takes. John McCain

A Washington celebrity playing the same old Washington games.

BARACK: I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.