Jansing and Co | April 10, 2012
>> joining me now, political reporter for "the atlantic," and msnbc's policy analyst and " washington post " columnist ezra kline. let me start with you. your poll showed when asked what the bigger problem is, 52% say it's a system that favors the wealthy. so makes sense, doesn't it, what the president's doing today and what we're going to hear from the democrats all week?
>> i mean, the white house is ecstatic over that result because what it means is it at least at this point, they are winning the framing, right? with the one question, our poll in which mitt romney had a double-digits lead over president obama was who can better handle the deficit. what we found in the poll is that that is not the main question americans are asking. romney may have convinced him of that, but what they really want to know is who's on my side? who better understands the economic problems. obama absolutely destroys romney on those types of questions. and the fact that people are moving into this place where they feel that the main thing holding back folks like them is an unfair economy and for richer americans , maybe folks who don't pay a high tax rate because they get access to loopholes most middle-class americans don't.
>> and we also have seen paul ryan going out. he's making the argument today on "today" and on " morning joe ." let me play a little clip.
>> i think people think the buffett rule is this sort of budget pixie dust that if we just do this, we're going to fix our fix cal problems. number one, it pays about 6% of the president's proposed deficit spending . number two, it represents a huge tax increase.
>> budget pixie dust . it's a line i have a feeling we're going to be hearing again and again. i guess the question is, look, we know what the republican line of attack is, that you are taxing the people who are the job creators, and you're going to hurt jobs. can that line of attack work?
>> well, i think it's very revealing that what you're actually hearing from republicans like paul ryan is that this is not enough to fix the deficit partly because they know the deficit is where their advantage is. also, they can see how popular this is. they can see that this is something that people are pretty favorable toward. and so they're going to try to make the argument that even if you like it, it just isn't important or it isn't necessary or it isn't going to go all the way.
>> we've already heard questions being asked of grover norquist , the guy who got everybody to sign the pledge about the deficit, about whether or not mitt romney would switch on this because it is obviously so popular. you mow what his research is going to show. it's got to be virtually the same as what we're seeing in "the washington post ."
>> absolutely. i think if anything, this poll sort of validateds the messages we're already hearing from the candidates. you've got to think the candidates have their own polling that's shown them the same kind of thing because it absolutely tells you why, you know, romney wants to talk so much about the deficit and keeping the message on the economy and keeping the focus on the fact that people are still pretty pessimistic about the economy. you know, they still feel like this recovery is weak, and they're not sure where it's going. they're not sure that the future is secure.
>> so economic pessimism, obviously the problem in this poll for the president, but let's look at what's good for him, and it's pretty overwhelming in some areas here, ezra . friendly, unlikable, he's beating romney by almost 40 points. more inspiring by 25 points. big lead in women's issues, protecting the middle class , dealing with health care . you know, we keep going back to this fundamental question, though, if people are pessimistic about their future, if gas is going up, ezra , are those things enough?
>> to me, i have to say the headline of the poll is not the economic questions. there is a 27-point gender gap in this election right now. barack obama is beating mitt romney among women by 18 points. mitt romney is beating barack obama among men by eight points. again, it's a 27-point gender gap . that is huge. to me, that is a central problem for romney . to some degree issue polling doesn't always tell you what you think it's telling you, right? if you are a candidate or voter who supports obama , you are likely to say that the things obama is saying are what are important to you. you have obama saying this is a question of fairness. you think barack obama is a good guy and you think he's a better politician, a better candidate, a better president. so you say yes, i think it's fairness. i don't think it's the budget deficit . the fact that this amazingly large gap has opened up among women for romney , that's really why he's losing in this poll. and if that doesn't turn around, i'm not sure the issues will end up being the problem. i'm not sure that the reason that gap has opened up is this economic argument. i'm not sure it can be closed by talking about the budget deficit .
>> they're trying to paint mitt romney as out of touch, that he's not the guy who can relate to you and me. let me play again david axelrod from " morning joe " a little more.
>> and if you look in this poll, when people are asked who understands what's going on in their particular economy in their lives, obama has a very large lead because people believe that mitt romney does not get what is going on in their lives.
>> and they like to use the car elevator line, can the guy who's worried about picking out a car elevator for his house relate to whether or not you can have enough money to put gas in your tank.
>> well, i think this is going to be the central question of the romney campaign going forward, is do they try to do something about this, or do they sort of accept that this is the candidate they have, people aren't going to feel warm and fuzzy about him, and they're going to have to prosecute the argument in a more cerebral way. they've seen them go back and forth, try to humanize him, make people like him, or whether that's going to come off as phony and people are going to say, you're trying too hard. you're the guy with the car elevator. i don't believe you or trust