Moving Back in With Mom and Dad

A recent campaign ad by American Crossroads Super PAC for Mitt Romney attempted to present President Barack Obama as an unsuccessful using several disturbing statistics. One of them was particularly frightening:

85 percent of recent college graduates are moving back in with their parents? Whoa.

That figure, however, is just flat wrong. PolitiFact looked into it and discovered that the source was a now defunct political consulting firm called Twentysomething Inc., which said it got the number from a poll “done for a client many years ago.” The organization’s managing director declined to name the client or explain the survey or methodology.

In fact, according to a report recently issued by the Pew Research Center, 42 percent of college graduates younger than 29 live with their parents.

That’s not very good, but it’s not nearly as bad as the Romney advertisement indicated. According to PolitiFact

The ad cites a questionable survey and suggests the data is new when the author says the survey was “many years ago.” [Furthermore], the ad blames Obama for a phenomenon that economists say is beyond the impact of a president. We rate the claim False.

Incidentally, this “Obama is so cool” thing is tactic the McCain campaign tried four years ago. McCain-Palin attempted to discredit Barack Obama because he was so popular. “He’s the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?” the McCain advertisement asked.

Don’t do this, Romney. President Obama is popular because people like him. Popularity does not rise in inverse proportion to presidential ability. Do not highlight your own unpopularity as a way to make you seem more qualified; it just makes you look more unattractive.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer