POSTED: Friday, August 24, 2012 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, September 3, 2012 - 11:58am
CNN — Memo to Mitt Romney: Walmart moms find you smart, but slick, and while many are ready to give up on President Obama, they aren't sure you understand their daily struggles.
It's safe to say Governor Romney already knows this: his pollster once was a lead player in the Walmart mom research project, and is close to the two pollsters leading it now.
Romney's pollster is Neil Newhouse. One of his partners at the GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, Alex Bratty, now does the Walmart mom research with Democratic pollster Margie Omero.
In a memo based on six recent focus groups, five of them in battleground states, Bratty and Omero describe Walmart moms as frustrated with the tone of the campaign and with both candidates - "overwhelmed by negative ads they cannot trust" and very much interested in the more unfiltered settings offered by the coming conventions and debates.
"They do not feel like either candidate is really connecting with them on the issues that matter most: the economy, education and health care."
What exactly is a Walmart mom? A female voter with children aged 18 or younger at home who shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month. All told, the two pollsters say Walmart moms constitute roughly 15 percent of the electorate.
Romney gets first crack with his convention. And reading through the focus group reports suggests a steep hill. "On the one hand they see his successful business record and say that is the kind of president the country needs right now - that his success is the American Dream" Bratty and Omero wrote. "On the other hand, they worry about how little they know about him."
Common descriptions of Romney from the focus groups: Not personable. Polished. Slick. Out of touch.
The president, however, can skip the hand stands.
Unhappy. Disappointed. Dissatisfied. Broken promises. Overwhelmed. Those were some of the labels attached to the Democratic incumbent during the discussions.
"There is not a lot of confidence that another four years will result in things getting better," is one damning line from the Bratty-Omero memo.
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