Buzzfeed's Ben Smith wondered the same thing. How did the economy become an afterthought this year? Look at this chart from the Pew Center for the People at the Press. It shows there's a deep partisan divide about the economy, and that's hurt Romney's campaign.
Indeed, the Obama campaign has long ago stopped trying to convince Americans that the economy is better than they thought, targeting their message at a "severely conservative" Romney.
And while the Romney campaign made the economy the core of their campaign earlier this year, they've recently diversified after struggling — mostly in vain — to persuade voters despite a steady stream of negative data points. Now, the economic argument is part of a broader case the campaign tries to make, all the while swiping at any shiny object that glitters past, whether Chinese intellectual property theft, alleged cuts to Medicare, or foreign policy crises.
The most recent Romney tack, though, is to link the economy to the deficit, which is typically seen as a less compelling issue than voters own experience.