Even before Republicans’ November defeat at the polls, some administration allies were warning that economic insecurity was eroding Republican support. A business coalition hired pollster David Winston to figure out why voters remained so dissatisfied with the economy. His focus groups of middle-income voters in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh found voters going deeper into debt to keep up with rising costs of health care and energy. Executive compensation “is getting to the point where it’s obscene,” said one focus-group participant.
The more politicians talked about how good the economy was, the worse these voters felt. “It’s almost as if these folks are floating around in the ocean, watching the yachts and speedboats go by, thinking, ‘Hey, I’m here, someone notice me,’” says Dirk Van Dongen, a co-chairman of the coalition and president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Mr. Winston advised Republicans: “Our message should be that while the economy is getting back on track, we need to do more to help people with the cost of living.”
This is, perhaps, more reliable data than a single sign in a burger joint in an upscale Los Angeles neighborhood, no?
In any case, if you read the entire article you’ll notice the distinct lack of any Republicans who treat this as anything other than a messaging issue. It needs to be addressed because it’s becoming a political liability, but not by actually doing anything to raise middle class wages. What’s needed, apparently, is simply a better brand of spin. The yokels have started cottoning on to the old stuff.