Here is some bad news for both presidential campaigns. President Obama's bad news is that in the latest Purple Strategies poll, 45 percent of voters in Ohio say that Obama is unable to improve the economy. The bad news for Mitt Romney is that in the same poll, 46 percent of Ohio voters also say Romney couldn't do a better job improving the economy. Somebody call Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and quick. Photoshop a picture of him sitting behind President Romney at a State of the Union address and see if it thrills an Ohio focus group.
Ohio is the bull’s-eye for Romney in a close race. Florida and Virginia are much tougher for Obama. Until now, Obama has been trying to convince voters his policies can create jobs and help the economy, while Romney must convince them that he will be better than the president at creating jobs and growing the economy. If Romney is seen as no better than Obama on economic issues in Ohio, then Romney has a problem.
But President Obama may be about to help Romney establish the difference in their approaches to jobs and the economy. Given that the president's economic record is so bad, and taking into account what he has now made clear about the contempt he has for private business and private-sector jobs, he may have to stop making promises to create jobs and instead only make new pledges of what he will give you when you lose your job. That is, more benefits, less work for welfare, etc.
The rest of the Purple Strategies poll, which highlights results from Colorado, Florida, Virginia and Ohio, is worth a look. It shows how little credibility Obama has as the steward of the American economy. He faces more pessimism in the other states included in the poll about his ability to improve the economy than he does in Ohio, while Romney is seen in these states as substantially better able to fix the economy than he is in Ohio.
Given the lack of confidence that voters have in Obama as a job creator, he has to decide if he is offering voters a better prospect for a job or better care once you become his dependent by losing your job or choosing not to work. He could try to offer both, but as this poll makes clear, few believe he can deliver on a job. A vote for Obama is becoming a vote for a better life on the dole.