Undecided Voters Disappointed in Obama's Leadership on Economy

Denver focus group shows Obama's support has weakened since 2008.

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Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart has more bad news for President Obama.

In a summary of his latest focus group, conducted in Denver with a dozen undecided and swing voters, Hart says, "President Obama is in trouble!"

Hart notes that Obama was formally nominated by the Democratic Party in Denver nearly four years ago in an atmosphere of optimism about Obama's prospects, but today his problems are growing.

"The country's mood is gray, but voters sense foreboding bad weather ahead," Hart writes in a memo to reporters. "Times are uncertain, confusing, and full of turmoil outside the United States."

Participants in the focus group rated the economy as the nation's most important issue. They expressed the belief that "things are coming back slowly," Hart says, but "a great deal of concern remains."

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"President Obama's challenge is not in the current conditions, but rather in contending with voters' disappointment in their unmet high expectations," the pollster says. "Even more, these participants have no idea where we go from here. The president has not drawn a roadmap, nor has he provided any real perspective of where we are currently."

"He is credited for his work on several fronts--the auto industry bailout, his work on mortgages, and financial disclosure on credit card companies," Hart adds. "Yet none of this adds up to a comprehensive plan for the economy."

Of the 12 partipants in the focus group, only four said they definitely plan on voting for Obama again this fall. Ten of them had supported Obama in 2008.

On the other hand, the participants weren't very impressed with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Hart calls him "the remainder candidate of 2012," a man whom voters barely know and a "stick figure."

"It all comes back to Barack Obama," Hart says.

"Voters say that saving the auto industry and killing Osama bin Laden are not enough to win their votes," he says. "Instead, they sense that this is all a show."

"There is no roadmap, no program, and no conviction of where the president wants to lead the country," Hart adds.

Hart conducted the focus group for the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hart's findings follow a series of setbacks for Obama, including an increase in unemployment and a surge in fund-raising by the Republicans. The focus group was conducted before Obama's latest speech on the economy, which he delivered Thursday in Ohio.

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