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Obama vs. Romney on 'fiscal cliff': May the bolder man win, polls say (+video)

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“If candidates aren’t going to talk about it, either in their debates or in their advertising, it’s hard to bring the American people to know a lot about what the fiscal problems are confronting the country,” said Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, at a press briefing on Monday.

But the candidate that does address the issues could reap large political rewards, say Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, in a research memo.

Part of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s post-debate polling bounce wasn't about his rhetorical style – it was about his willingness to talk decisively about the nation’s economic future, the pollsters write.

“Mitt Romney is strongest when he uses future-oriented economic messages to talk about the policy choices,” they say, noting that 3 in 4 voters agree with Romney’s five-point economic plan of job creation, energy independence, improved education, and lower deficits and taxes.

“This message also has strong intensity of support – half (50 percent) of voters strongly agree with this message. Had Romney battled for the future from the outset, he might be in a closer contest,” the pollsters continue.

During the debate, dial tests conducted by the group saw independents and unmarried women – two key parts of President Obama’s winning coalition in 2008 – tune out when the president discussed economic progress of the last four years. 

On the other hand, “Obama won most support when he said what he would do to make the economy better in the years ahead." Still, “both Romney and Ryan spent much more time on that future and sounded like they had a real plan to make the economy better,” the pollsters’ memo reads.

Resurgent Republic, the conservative polling group, found similar advice to the candidates via focus group of undecided voters in Milwaukee, Wisc.

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