In his campaign messaging, President Obama claims the mantle of "Forward." But voters fundamentally disagree with that characterization of the country. Only 39 percent of likely voters today say the country is moving forward. That is one reason why the fundamentals of the 2012 election favor Republicans as they gather in Tampa for their quadrennial convention.
That is the conclusion of the latest Resurgent Republic national survey of 1000 likely voters conducted August 16-22, 2012. The survey polled 1000 likely voters nationally, including an oversample to reach a total of 462 voters in twelve battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The sample contains seven percentage points more Democrats than Republicans (Democrats 37 percent, Republicans 30 percent), consistent with other recent national polling.
As Resurgent Republic first demonstrated last May, voters' perspective on fairness and opportunity leans right rather than left. A message that directly engages the left on both fairness and opportunity will be very productive for center-right candidates and policies.
Fairness is making sure the wealthy pay their fair share by increasing their taxes, eliminating loopholes, and giving up special deductions.
Fairness is making sure everyone pays their fair share, and no one gets bailouts, preferential treatment, or special favors from political cronies.
Voters choose the second definition by 58 to 34 percent. Overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Independents favor the second definition (67 to 24 percent and 58 to 32 percent, respectively). But in August, unlike May, even Democrats prefer the second definition, 49 to 46 percent. Republicans should welcome a debate over "fairness."
Government policies should promote fairness by narrowing the gap between rich and poor, making the rich pay their fair share, and reducing income inequality.
Government policies should promote opportunity by fostering job growth, encouraging entrepreneurs, and allowing hardworking people to keep more of what they earn.
As in May, voters choose conservative opportunity over liberal fairness, this month by 58 to 36 percent. Republicans prefer the conservative opportunity message by 77 to 17 percent, as do Independents by 61 to 34 percent. Democrats prefer liberal fairness by 52 to 40 percent. Expanding opportunity for all rather than mandating economic outcomes remains a winning message for center-right candidates.