Voters Concerned About Romney's Business Record
Recent polling, focus groups, and coverage have indicated that Priorities USA Action’s focus on Romney’s business record is making an impact in key states.
Priorities USA Action has been running a $10 million ad campaign in key swing states since early May.
WP (EJ Dionne) -- Mitt Romney’s Bain Problem -- In the long run, polling in swing states suggesting that Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital is hurting him could have larger implications for where this campaign will move. It’s certainly true that had the court knocked down President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the defeat would have been woven into a narrative of ineffectual leadership and mistaken priorities. Instead, the president found vindication not only from the court’s liberals but also from Chief Justice John Roberts. But precisely because the decision saved the president from disaster on health care, it only reinforced the importance of the economic argument Obama and Romney have been having for months. And here is where Romney’s Bain problem kicks in. As Democrats, mostly from Washington and New York, debated the efficacy of attacks on Romney’s role in Bain, an entirely different conversation was being driven in the swing states, courtesy of ads broadcast by the Obama campaign and especially by Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC. The ads portray highly sympathetic workers who lost their jobs and companies that collapsed even as Bain’s principals made substantial profits. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week provided surprisingly dramatic evidence of how much these commercials are wounding Romney. READ MORE
VIDEO -- ABC NEWS: 'World News' Political Insights: Bain Attack Takes Toll on Romney, But Dems Worry About Money Race -- …Even as national polls have shown little movement in the race, something different has been happening in the battleground states. It's as if there's a parallel campaign in the states that are likely to determine the presidency, one with its own rhythms and realities. In those states, President Obama has been pulling ahead. The gaps aren't huge, but taken together, the numbers strongly suggest that Democrats' relentless attacks on Mitt Romney's business record at Bain Capital have been taking a toll. Quinnipiac University polling last week in the three big classic swing states show the president with narrow but identifiable leads. He's up four points in Florida, seven in Ohio, and six in Pennsylvania. Among the things that those states have in common is that voters there have seen an avalanche of early advertising focused on questioning Romney's business record. READ MORE
NYT: [Even GOP Strategists Agree] Bain Attacks Make Inroads for President -- Propelled by a torrent of blistering television advertisements, President Obama is successfully invoking Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital to raise questions about his commitment to the middle class, strategists in both parties say, as the candidates engage in a critical summer duel to set the terms for this fall. Despite doubts among some Democrats about the wisdom of attacking Mr. Romney’s business career, Obama commercials painting him as a ruthless executive who pursued profits at the expense of jobs are starting to make an impact on some undecided voters, according to strategists from both sides, who differ on whether they are causing any substantial damage. READ MORE
NBC/ WSJ POLL: Ads attacking Mitt Romney's business background have had an impact nationwide, and an especially large effect in swing states. According to MSNBC, "What’s more, the poll shows that attitudes about Romney’s business background also are more unfavorable in these battlegrounds. Among swing-state respondents, 18% say what they’ve seen and heard about Romney’s business record gives them a more POSITIVE opinion about the Republican candidate, versus 33% who say it’s more NEGATIVE. That’s compared to the national 23%-to-28% margin on this question. The obvious conclusion here is that the negative TV ads pummeling Romney in the battleground states -- like here and here and here -- are having an impact." [NBC News, 6/27/12]
Q Poll of Florida Showed Romney’s Unfavorable Rating Climbing, 15 point shift against Romney among independents. From their early May to late June poll, Quinnipiac found a 15 point shift among independents on Romney’s favorable rating. Currently, Romney is 10 points underwater with independents. [Quinnipiac]
Q Poll of Ohio Showed Romney’s Unfavorable Rating Climbing; Significant Shift on Handling of the economy. From their early May to late June poll, Quinnipiac found a 12 point shift among independents on Romney favorables, with Romney now 13 points underwater. There was a 9 point shift towards the President on who would do a better job handling the economy and 11 point shift among independents on the same question. [Quinnipiac]
ABC’s Amy Walter: “It is clear that ads attacking Romney for his record at Bain Capital have penetrated.” According to ABC’s Amy Walter who reported on focus groups in Richmond and Las Vegas, “As for Mitt Romney, he remains a blank slate. Most of these women knew little to nothing about him. But it is clear that ads attacking Romney for his record at Bain Capital have penetrated. Stephanie and Rebecca voted for McCain in 2008, but both expressed worry over Romney’s business record. When asked by the moderator what they’d heard or seen about the campaign so far, Rebecca replied, “That whole thing where factories have shut down, that concerns me. … That’s scary because I work for a small business.” “Little guys like us are like a gerbil on the wheel, OK?” she said. ”Where’s my break? We don’t get anything other than another day of work”” [ABC News, 6/8/12]
LA Times: Purple Poll Shows Criticism of Romney Business Record Works. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Across the 12 battleground states the monthly poll surveys, 47% of likely voters said they agreed with the statement that private equity firms “care only about profits and short-term gains for investors. When they come in, workers get laid off, benefits disappear, and pensions are cut. Investors walk off with big returns, and working folks get stuck holding the bag.” By contrast, 38% agreed that “private investment and equity firms help the American economy grow. They launch new companies and rebuild existing ones, including some of the biggest employers in America. Their work has created millions of jobs, and will help drive America’s recovery.”… the attack on Romney’s record at Bain has “the hallmarks of a classic wedge issue for the president,” Purple Poll analysts wrote. “It consolidates Democrats (64% to 22%) and has a plurality of support among independents (48% to 38%).”” [Los Angeles Times, 6/7/12]
Public Policy Polling: Independents, by 40-11 margin, say Romney’s private sector experience makes them less likely to vote for him. Moderates, 48-8, say the same. By a 40-11 margin, independents say “Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital” makes them less likely to support him. Among moderates, it is a 48-8 margin. [Public Policy Polling, Conducted: 5/31-6/3]