Obama Needs Good Convention, Strategists Say

Just as Denver was in 2008, the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte will be important to Barack Obama’s chances for victory in November, prominent Democrats say.

As Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C., to formally renominate President Obama for another term, it’s critical that convention go well to propel the president toward re-election in the fall, according to a pair of top Democratic strategists.

“This is a close presidential race where President Obama and the Democrats still need a good convention to get momentum and define the choice in the election to lock in their 3- or 4- point lead.  In our view, that is very likely,” says an email from famed strategist James Carville and prominent pollster Stan Greenberg.

A successful convention in Charlotte can refocus voters, they say, from the current dreary economy towards the president’s hopeful plans for the future.

“In the survey we conducted just before the Republican convention, Obama maintained a 2-point lead.  But because Republican-leaning independents pay more attention in this period and are a larger portion of the national survey, the survey results are tough: the President fell to 6 points behind Romney and Democrats 9 points behind Republicans on who would do a better job on the economy,” the email says. “That poll shows people struggling in their personal economies, which were weakening further, even as there was more churning in the job market.”

Democrats should not underestimate the difficulty in asking voters to support the president’s re-election ? despite 60 percent thinking the economy is headed in the wrong direction and so many thinking spending and deficits hurt the economy, Carville and Greenberg say.

“They are ready to vote for Obama because they know how unique these times are and how much Bush contributed to the mess.  They are ready to vote for him because they respect President Obama and are not focused on the past but on what the candidates will do to make things better.  They are ready to vote for Obama because they worry about the Republicans? social agenda and because they truly don?t want a new version of trickle-down economics,” they say. “There are reasons why Democrats enjoy a 6-point advantage in party identification and are at parity on who voters trust to handle taxes ? both pretty amazing numbers ? but revealing on why Obama will likely move back into the lead.’

With that in mind, Carville and Greenberg released a public memo with a six-point plan on how Obama should use this week’s convention to his advantage.

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