Republicans have struggled in this election with two powerful and competing impulses: to hammer a president they dislike intensely with a strong indictment of his record, but to be restrained enough to win over independent voters, who generally like Mr. Obama. Those who commissioned Mr. Luntz’s research, according to people with firsthand knowledge of their motives, wanted to determine whether any of these films would do the trick and be worth backing. Mr. Luntz declined to say who commissioned his research.
“The Hope and the Change,” directed by Stephen K. Bannon and produced by Citizens United, the conservative political advocacy group, tested highest with focus groups and is running on local cable stations. It was shown here just before Monday’s debate.