The best-received ad was one produced by the pro-Romney super PAC Americans for Prosperity in which '08 Obama voters expressed disappointment with his performance in office. "I think he's a great person; I don't feel he is the right leader for our country," said one woman in the ad. "I still believe in hope and change -- I just don't think Obama is the way to go for that," said another. They reluctantly concluded that Obama has not earned another term in office.
The focus group members liked the fact that, as one said, "it's not a negative ad" and did not feature "dark music playing and black-and-white images of (Obama) on the screen." Another liked that the ad makers "weren't bashing him, weren't being mean, weren't being nasty." The people in the ad seemed like real people, not political hit men. And they said what those voters were thinking.
Luntz also played the group a few clips from Clint Eastwood's much-discussed stand-up routine at the Republican convention in Tampa. (A significant number of them hadn't seen it.) Eastwood was gentle with Obama voters, saying he felt good when Obama won, but high unemployment has gone on for so long that "it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem."
The group watched a clip in which Eastwood said "You, we -- we own this country ... Politicians are employees of ours ... And when somebody does not do the job, we've got to let them go." The clip got a very positive reception from Luntz's group, and not just from the few Republicans. That is not good news for the employee in the White House.
Between now and Nov. 6, Romney has to reinforce those voters' thinking about Obama -- and give them a clear picture of what a Romney presidency would look like. The job will take care and hard work, but the voters are more than ready to go along.
(Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.)