A new poll today suggests that getting to know Mitt Romney isn’t a good thing for Mitt Romney. Also in shocking news, voters do not like what the GOP candidates are saying.
According to an ABC News/ Washington Post poll conducted by Langer Research Associates, the more Americans get to know Mitt Romney, the less they like him by 52-24. Yes, 52-24. They like Romney less the more they get to know him. This is not good for Romney.
Republicans have long been wining elections on the same tired talking points and negativity, but it doesn’t appear to be working as well this time around as only 36% approve of what they’ve been hearing from the Republicans. Perhaps after the Occupy movement brought the issue of economic justice to the forefront, having a tax-dodging multi-millionaire as the Republican front-runner wasn’t the smartest move. Add to that Romney’s message (the same message of all Republican candidates) that he would lower taxes on the rich and not do anything for the poor and you have a problem.
But it’s more than just the message. There’s also just the likeability of the candidate at this specific point in time. At a time when most Americans are going through economic hardships, the real sign of trouble is that 66-30 percent say Romney is not paying his fair share of taxes, including nearly half of conservatives and Republicans. Not paying his fair share. Ouch.
Americans think Obama better understands their troubles by a wide margin of 53-36%. Romney is a stiff, upper crust gaffe machine who can’t help but radiate an untrustworthy smarminess. And then, even when those of us who wouldn’t support him thought he was a decent guy — just not the right guy –- he went Palin during his Nevada victory speech, proving himself to be capable of being every bit as ugly and dishonest as Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Fox Publicans.
As much as Fox may like them, Americans do not. Americans dislike conservative favorite Newt Gingrich by 3 to 1.
As the economy improves and Obama’s job approval numbers hit the sweet spot of 50%, Americans also like what he stands for. 57% of Americans who’ve heard or read about Obama’s State of the Union address approve, while only 36% approve of what they’ve been hearing from the Republicans.
Independents are still on the fence about Obama, with 47% approving and 50% disapproving of his job performance on job creation and the economy. Americans approve more of Romney with a 2% lead over Obama (47-45%) in the area of job creation in spite of the recent positive job creation numbers.
Americans trust Obama more than Romney by 55-37% to protect the interests of the middle class and (stunningly for a Democrat) 52-42% to handle taxes. That’s a ten-point lead for Obama in handling taxes over Romney.
Romney has made it clear that he plans to double down on the fiscal irresponsibility of Bush, and not only would this shift the tax burden to the middle class yet again, but it would also be devastating for our economy, not to mention the allegedly important deficit Republicans claim to care about when Democrats are in office, and yet do nothing to address when they are in power.
The public is pretty even when it comes to their perception of Romney’s wealth, with 43% seeing it as a positive while 44% see it as a negative.
Romney has battled the perception that he isn’t paying his fair share in taxes and that he is a 1% with claims that Americans shouldn’t hold his vast wealth against him because he is an example of the American dream.
America may not yet be aware that Romney is not wealthy because of his business prowess. At least, not in the sense that he tells the story.
Romney is also no rags-to-riches story. Rather, he grew up wealthy and privileged thanks to the hard work of his father. His father worked through the Depression and lost a business. His parents lost their business, and were helped by the social safety nets put into place by a Democrat at that time. George Romney always advocated for everyone doing his or her part, unlike his son. When George Romney restructured American Motor Company, he made the CEO’s take a 35% pay cut.
It seems Mitt Romney didn’t listen to the lessons his father could have taught him about the plight of the vulnerable in this country.
In the most telling of all numbers to me, 56% of Americans trust Obama on handling terrorism while only 36% trust Romney on terrorism. This is a huge shift as Republicans have traditionally carried the “we’ll keep you safe” trust. While some of this may be people preferring a known entity to an unknown, Obama has more than proven himself in handling terrorism. I suspect these numbers are one more reason Republicans are attempting to make this election against Obama as a person (or rather, the made up Obama that they’ve invented to fight). They simply can’t fight him on the issues.
The one issue Romney has a large lead over Obama is handling the deficit. This is to be expected, as Republicans have made the deficit their cause du jour, though we note that when they are in office, they have done nothing but increase the deficit with unpaid for tax cuts for the rich, accompanied by unpaid for wars and Medicare Part D.
As successful as the Republicans were via Fox News in spreading the “deficit is the only thing that matters” message when they wanted to obstruct Obama from doing what every other President has done (raise the debt ceiling), and the media has bought this narrative and many conservatives parrot it, the truth is that at night, when Americans are trying to forget their troubles, the first thing on their mind is not the deficit. It’s their family, their job, their kids, their health and our safety.
The only other hope for Romney right now is that Americans trust him on job creation slightly more than they trust Obama. But they haven’t really gotten to know Romney yet on this issue, and if the job creation numbers keep improving, Romney will be stuck running on the deficit. Which brings us to wondering when Americans will notice how Bain Capital dealt with deficits.
Americans are just getting to know the “real” Mitt Romney, and they don’t like what they see. This may be one reason Romney has refused to answer press questions for the last three weeks. Romney is going to pull a Palin in more than one sense this campaign; he’s going nasty and he’s going to hide from the press. But he can’t hide from his taxes or the truth about how he got rich. And Americans may not be as willing to be duped by another cowardly candidate who feels themselves entitled to not answer your questions after suffering for years under the Bush recession.
Romney can run from questions, but he can’t hide from his record.
Source: ABC/Washington Post Poll
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.