A majority of voters believe America is worse off today than it was four years ago and that President Obama does not deserve reelection says a new poll conducted by The Hill. According to the poll, 52% of voters say the nation is in "worse condition" now than it was in September 2008, and 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based on his job performance.
Like all polls, the data should be taken with a grain of salt. However, these numbers suggest that the Republicans' central message at last week's RNC, that President Obama is a failed leader, CEO, and boss who deserves to be fired from the presidency, may be making in-roads with voters.
Still, new data contradicts a Gallup poll conducted over the weekend, which found that Mitt Romney's speech at the RNC had minimal impact on American voters; almost as many said that the RNC made them less likely to vote for Romney as said that it made the more likely to vote for the Republican candidate.
It remains unclear what impact the RNC will have on voters, and whether it will provide a post-convention "bump" that Republican insiders are hoping for. The Democratic National Covention may also give Obama a jolt in the polls. Still, one thing that is clear is that a central point of the debate for the coming two months will be the very Reagan-esque question, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" The Romney campaign is following Reagan's lead and centering in on that question as their chief evidence for why Romney deserves his chance at the helm.
Over the weekend, Democrats seemed unprepared as to how to answer that question, with one prominent going off-message. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer on Sunday and was asked if he could "honestly say that people are better off today than they were four years ago. "No," he replied, "but that's not the question of this election." After conservative media had a field day with that statement, O'Malley walked back on his statement and said on CNN's "Starting Point" on Monday that the country was "clearly" better off than four years ago.
As high-profile Democrats address the DNC in Charlotte this week, they'll have to develop a credible response to Romney's question (or explain why that's not the right question) if they are to convince voters to put their faith in President Obama for a second term.
For full live coverage of every DNC speech, including real-time updates see here.