(Photo: A job seeker gives recruiters his information at a Hiring Our Heroes job fair for veterans last month in Richmond, Va.)
WSJ Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib speaks fluently to Joel Benenson, chief pollster for OFA, re the undecided voters for the next 60 days. The WSJ polls identify 8% of the electorate as undecided, some of the most critical in the swing states. Benenson comments especially on the voters who are leaning for POTUS, "they may be soft..." Here is the election, those voters who committed to Mr. Obama in 2008 during the financial crisis, who remain approving of Mr. Obama's personality and style, and yet who have not decided to commit to the re-election. What I hear in Mr. Benenson's careful presentation to the cheerful Mr. Seib is that there is continuing doubt that the soft voters will vote at all. OFA can see that the soft voters will sit out November unless something moves them. What could move a voter soft on Obama to vote for Obama? Fear of Mitt Romney. Fear of the future. Fear of the markets. Fear of war. Just fear in general. The DNC convention closed with a SOTU style speech by Candidate Obama that did not speak to the ongoing fear of the joblessness, and it is not surprising to learn the next morning that the BLS report for September is a severe disappointment. After promising to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016 in the second term, Mr. Obama must deal with the fact that 15,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the last month. No other category improved acceptably. The jobs participation rate continues to decline, and the number of unemployed and underemployed people continues to increase. Is there enough fear in this September BLS report to move the undecided soft Obama-leaning unsure voters in swing states to turn out and vote Democratic? Nope. Is there enough to keep such a voter at home? Yep. There's the OFA weakness, and Mr. Benenson knows it. OFA does not have an winning economic argument for the undecided to vote another four years. More scary Romney and Bain ads. More class warfare chat. But not a selling line to counter the BLS. Two BLS reports to go until Election day.