Daniel Doherty

This is terrific news for Team Romney, naturally.

With President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney delivering dueling visions for the U.S. economy in speeches on Thursday, a majority of independents said that Obama's policies have made it harder for Americans to gain employment, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Friday.

Fifty-two percent of independents said they agreed with the idea that the president has not helped create more jobs in America, an argument central to Romney's campaign.

Obama appears to have trouble convincing some members of his own party that his administration has been good for jobs: 29 percent of Democrats said they agreed with the claim that he has not been a job creator.

With the unemployment rate at 8.1 percent, the Obama campaign maintains that 4.2 million private-sector jobs have been created since he entered office in January 2009, although roughly as many have been lost.

"I think the thing that Obama's team is going to be worried about is the number of independents who agree that the policies the president has put in place make it harder to create jobs," said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. "The key conversation is convincing them that the things he has done have helped the economy or not certainly made things worse."

Even before the former Massachusetts governor clinched the Republican nomination, I’m sure Mitt Romney and his surrogates recognized that courting independent swing state voters is the surest path to victory in November. The challenge over the next five months, however, is attracting as many independents as possible without alienating the base. (Incidentally, then-Senator Obama garnered 52 percent of the vote from this important constituency in 2008; the same exact percentage, according to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, who now believes his policies have made it more difficult for Americans to gain employment). In short, widespread dissatisfaction with the president’s policies may not be Mitt Romney’s golden ticket to the White House, as he might hope, but it’s certainly a silver lining in an otherwise close and competitive presidential contest.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography