Remember In Iowa When Obama Said Poll-Driven Positions “Just Won’t Do”

- August 15, 2012

With No Record To Run On, Polling “Consumes” Obama’s Campaign And His White House

Five Years Ago In Iowa, Obama Promised Not To Make “Poll-Driven Positions.” OBAMA: “That's why telling the American people what we think they want to hear instead of telling the American people what they need to hear just won't do. Triangulating and poll-driven positions because we're worried about what Mitt or Rudy might say about us just won't do.” (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks At The United Auto Workers Conference In Dubuque, Iowa, 11/13/07)


Obama “Craves Bullet-Point Summaries Of Polls.” “Mr. Obama has told associates that he is aware of the precariousness of the political environment for him. He asks aides about his campaign message. He craves the bullet-point summaries of polls, but he does not delve deeply into the weeds of surveys or other campaign research.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)

  • The Obama Campaign And The DNC Have Spent Over $15 Million On Polling This Election. “The campaign spent $2.6 million on polling in June. The campaign has invested some $4 million in polling this election, with the DNC chipping in $11.3 million on opinion surveys since the start of 2011.” (Peter Nicholas and Danny Yadron, “Obama’s Burn Rate Worries Some Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/22/12)

Campaigning Shapes Obama’s “Schedule, His Message, And Many Of His Decisions”

“With Election Day Five Months Off, The Campaign Increasingly Appears To Consume Mr. Obama’s Days And His White House, Shaping His Schedule, His Message And Many Of His Decisions.” (Peter Baker, “Obama Finds Campaigning Rules Clock,” The New York Times, 5/28/12)

Obama Holds Weekly Re-Election Strategy Meetings At The White House With Both White House And Campaign Officials. “Mr. Obama has created a semblance of that, holding regular meetings on Sundays in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to talk about his re-election effort. Senior White House aides attend, and campaign officials from Chicago fly in for the occasion.” (Peter Nicholas and Carol E. Lee, “Obama Aides Play Campaign Roles,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/12)

“On Most Sunday Evenings” Obama Meets With A “Tight Circle Of Advisers Who Gather For A Confidential Briefing On His Re-Election.” “President Obama walks into the Roosevelt Room of the White House and takes his seat around a table. The West Wing, as on most Sunday evenings, is quiet except for the tight circle of advisers who gather for a confidential briefing on his re-election.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)

  • “The President Is Immersed In What It Will Take To Win A Second Term.” “The gathering often takes place after Mr. Obama’s regular Sunday round of golf, and while the atmosphere is casual, the agenda is anything but: keeping the president immersed in what it will take to win a second term. He receives an update on how his operation is expanding in battleground states, he watches previews of television ads and he studies a presentation on his various paths to victory.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)
  • The Sunday Meetings Are Held “Nearly Every Other Week Just Across The Hall From The Oval Office.” “These previously undisclosed sessions, which take place nearly every other week just across the hall from the Oval Office, are designed to bridge a divide between his campaign headquarters in Chicago and his aides in Washington in preparing for what Mr. Obama and his team anticipate will be a grueling race with Mitt Romney.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)
  • Obama’s Sunday Sessions Also Include “A Mix Of White House Staff.” “The attendance roster, which was confirmed by multiple people familiar with the list, reveals a mix of White House staff, including: David Plouffe, a senior adviser and campaign manager from 2008; Jack Lew, the chief of staff; Valerie Jarrett and Pete Rouse, senior advisers; Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director; and Alyssa Mastromonaco, a deputy chief of staff who has worked for Mr. Obama since his days in the United States Senate.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)
  • The Campaign Team Includes Campaign Manager Jim Messina, Senior Strategy David Axelrod, Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter, And Top Political Adviser Larry Grisolano. “The campaign team includes: Jim Messina, the campaign manager, who sets the agenda for the meeting; David Axelrod, a senior strategist; Stephanie Cutter, a deputy campaign manager; and Larry Grisolano, a top political adviser.” (Jeff Zeleny, “On Sundays, Tight Obama Circle Sizes Up Election,” The New York Times, 5/4/12)


Since President Obama Took Office, The Nation Has Lost 316,000 Jobs And The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 7.8 Percent To 8.3 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/14/12)

  • In July, The Real Unemployment Rate, Including Those That Are Working Part-Time Due To Economic Reasons, Increased To 15.0 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/14/12)
  • 23.6 Million Ame ricans Are Unemployed, Underemployed Or Have Given Up Looking For Work. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/14/12) 
  • 49.1 Million Americans Are In Poverty. (Hope Yen, “Census Shows 1 In 2 People Are Low Income,” The Associated Press, 12/15/11)

The Unemployment Rate Has Remained Above Eight Percent For A Record 42 Straight Months. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/4/12)

  • Congressional Budget Office: Unemployment Has Remained Above Eight Percent For The Longest Stretch Since The Great Depression. “The rate of unemployment in the United States has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression.” (“Understanding And Responding To Persistently High Unemployment,” Congressional Budget Office, 2/16/12)

“More Than Three Years After Economists Declared The Recession Had Ended In June 2009, The Economy Is Growing Too Slowly To Generate Enough Jobs To Lower The Unemployment Rate. ” “More than three years after economists declared the recession had ended in June 2009, the economy is growing too slowly to generate enough jobs to lower the unemployment rate. Growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of 2011.” (“Weak U.S. Hiring Expected For Fourth Straight Month,” The Associated Press, 8/3/12)

And They Aren’t Helping Iowa

Since Obama Took Office, Iowa Has Lost 11,400 Jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/14/12)

According To The Iowa Policy Project, One In Four Iowa Families Are Already Failing To Keep Up With The Rising Costs Of Living. “Nearly one in four Iowa families are failing to keep up with the rising costs of living, and the Iowa City metropolitan area ranks among the state’s most expensive places for families to live, according to a report issued Thursday.” (Josh O’Leary, “Report: One In Four Iowa Families Failing To Keep Up With Cost Of Living,” Iowa Press Citizen, 5/31/12)

  • Between 2008 To 2010, 35,588 More People In Iowa Fell Into Poverty. (“Poverty: 2007 And 2008,” U.S. Census Bureau, 10/11; “Poverty: 2009 And 2010,” U.S. Census Bureau, 10/11)

Obama’s Plan To Raise Taxes Would Cost Iowa 8,000 Jobs. (Drs. Robert Carroll and Gerald Prante, “Long-Run Macroeconomic Impact Of Increasing Tax Rates On High-Income Taxpayers In 2013,” Ernst & Young LLP , 7/12)

  • Obama’s Plan To Raise Taxes Would Cost Iowa $2 Billion In Lost Economic Output. (Drs. Robert Carroll and Gerald Prante, “Long-Run Macroeconomic Impact Of Increasing Tax Rates On High-Income Taxpayers In 2013,” Ernst & Young LLP , 7/12)

Inspite Of Spending So Much On Polling, Obama Is At Risk Of Losing Iowa

National Journal: “The State That Launched Obama To The White House Could End Up Voting Him Out Of It.” “But the president’s unusual extended visit to Iowa isn’t just a trip down memory lane. Iowa is up for grabs this fall -- public polling, although scarce, shows a dead heat, and observers describe a close race that could tilt in either direction on Election Day. The state that launched Obama to the White House could end up voting him out of it.” (Alex Roarty, “Obama’s Iowa Idyll: Not Just A Trip Down Memory Lane,” National Journal , 8/14/12)

Des Moines Register: “Obama Is In Trouble In Iowa Today, Hampered By Negative Perceptions Of The Job He Is Doing As President.” (“Obama Trails Three Of Four Republican Candidates In Latest Iowa Poll,” Des Moines Register, 2/18/12)

Des Moines Register: Obama’s Popularity In Iowa Has “Slipped Considerably.” “Although Obama, a Democrat, won Iowa by more than 9 points in the general election four years ago, his popularity here has slipped considerably.” (Jennifer Jacobs, “Romney At 46 Percent In Iowa, Obama 44 Percent, Rasmussen Poll Finds,” Des Moines Register , 8/10/12)

  • In Iowa, “County Leaders Agree, The Shaky State Of The National Economy Is Obama’s Biggest Vulnerability.” “The unemployment rate in Iowa’s 12 hottest swing counties ranges from 3.7 percent (Carroll) to 7.5 percent (Hamilton). Across the board, county leaders agree, the shaky state of the national economy is Obama’s biggest vulnerability.” (Jennifer Jacobs, “Campaigns Battle Over 12 Iowa Swing Counties,” Des Moines Register , 8/5/12)

Iowa Republicans Currently Have A 21,589 Voter Registration Advantage Over Democrats. “Iowa Republicans, Their Rolls Bolstered By A Hard-Fought Presidential Caucus In January, Have A Voter-Registration Advantage Over Democrats, 620,584 To 598,995. In November 2008, Registered Democrats Outnumbered Republicans By More Than 100,000.” (Liz Halloran, “Iowa, Key To Obama's 2008 Win, Now Divided,” NPR, 8/9/12)

  • In October 2008, Democrats Had A 106,000 Voter Registration Advantage. “The voter registration figures are worth watching because Democrats had a 106,000-voter advantage at the end of October 2008, just before Barack Obama carried the state by 10 percentage points. Four years earlier, when George W. Bush carried Iowa by less than a percentage point, the GOP had a 4,400-voter advantage.” (Charles Mahtesian, “GOP Holds Edge In Iowa Voter Registration,” Politico, 5/14/12)
  • Since 2008, Iowa Has Lost 72,389 Democrat Voters And Has Gained 27,314 Republican Voters. (Michelle Diggles, “Flight To The Center: Voter Registration 6 Months Out,” Third Way, May 2012)

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