Even more startling is this nugget from the poll: McCain leads 37 percent to 25 percent over Romney among voters who say the economy is the number one issue. This seems counterintuitive in light of Romney’s improved messaging and his obvious command of economic issues. However, there may be something missing in his appeal. In a speech today at the Latin Builders Association he added some lines that we haven’t heard before:While it's true people say they want change they have to believe you will change things and that the change will be for the better. Romney is seen as a big business guy and many blame big business for the mess we are in now. Perhaps John McCain is picking up on that. In Florida he said this:I’ve had settings where I’ve had to lay people off. It’s an awful feeling. No one likes laying someone off . . . Someone who thinks that you’re a bad person if you lay someone off doesn’t understand. You feel bad. Its probably the hardest thing I’ve done in business.Could it be that Romney comes across too corporate or too upscale and is now attempting a slight course correction? There is some evidence this is a problem for him. In New Hampshire, for example, he lost every economic group except those making $150-199K, and lost 22 percent to 39 percent to McCain among voters who considered the economy the number one issue. His focus on economics has intensified since then, and he has had much more time to demonstrate his expertise, but if the Florida poll is accurate it suggests he still has not connected with the majority of voters on what should be his best issue.
“America is looking for leaders, not managers,” McCain said this morning. “Governor Romney has touted his qualities and experience and resume as a manager. I am telling the American people, and they know it, that I am a leader.”