A highly-anticipated GOP post-election analysis found that Mitt Romney bungled his economic message so badly that he made President Obama's juggling of high unemployment and historic deficits look better that what the Republican nominee was offering.
In fact, said pollster David Winston, the Romney campaign's convention question asking if voters were better off after four years under Obama helped the president make the case that he was fixing an economic disaster left by former President George W. Bush policies which Romney would return to.
The analysis, provided to Secrets, is a sharp critique of the Romney team which failed to explain how the economy would improve under the former Massachusetts governor. It was also a pat on the back to the Obama team who outsmarted Romney on tactics.
Based on his latest post-election polling, Winston said that while the economy was the number one issue, Romney fumbled it by making the election a referendum on Obama. Worse, he raised the specter of Bush by asking the better off question at the convention. Winston's poll found that voters, by 53 percent to 38 percent, still blamed Bush for the nation's economic ills.
"The bottom line was that Romney could not counter the Obama narrative that he wanted to go back to the policies that got the country in trouble in the first place," wrote Winston.
Winston, who has strong ties to House and Senate Republicans, said by failing to lay out a clear economic solution, Romney lost a chance at winning more votes from women, younger voters and Hispanics even though the economy was their biggest issue.
Winston also revealed a trend of Republicans morphing into independents, requiring Republican candidates to win a far bigger majority of independents. "As long as the Republicans who left in the later part of the decade remain independents, Republicans will likely have to win independents by 5 percent or more to be competitive nationally," he said.