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Pollster, Strategist Benenson Shares Underlying Attitudes for 2012

By David W. Burns
January 30, 2012


The opening session of the 80th Winter Meeting kicked off January 18 and after Conference of Mayors President Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa concluded his President's Address, he switched gears into an area he's focused much of his year upon; understanding public opinion and messaging. For the latest session, Joel Benenson, a political pollster and strategist for President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns came and shared his thoughts on the public's mindset politically for the upcoming year.

Benenson's key focus was the current economic conditions and the recession. The 2008 economic collapse saw the loss of millions of jobs in the United States and with job creation being a top priority, Benenson shared a little insight on the public's perspectives on the recession and rebounding economically.

"The American people never believed this was an ordinary recession. If you go back to the data from 2008, you had four in ten people who told Gallup that they didn't think we-d start to recover from this recession during President Obama's first term," remarked Benenson. He continued, "The point of this is that they understood that we weren't going to get out of this overnight."

Extending from this discussion was the topic of what caused this along with what barriers the public sees in the way of creating jobs. One of the issues in the way is our National debt. Benenson connected this to the voters personal feelings by saying, "[Voters] have been very bothered by their own personal debt, they see it as a barrier in their own advancement. These deep-rooted feelings come into play and have a big impact."

Benenson's presentation, available for viewing online at usmayors.org/80thWinterMeeting, provided an insightful look into the goings on in the minds of American voters during this election year and gave credence to some of the approaches We've taken this past year with issues such as the bi-partisan Common Sense Jobs Agenda where mayors called for a balance of cuts along with sensible investments.