Mitt Romney’s remark about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no taxes, thus “victims” of government dependency and politically unreachable by his campaign, hasn’t gone over well.
“Americans disagree with Romney’s recently leaked comment to high-dollar donors that 47 percent of the public view themselves as victims dependent on the government — an assertion he later said was stated inelegantly yet is a key part of his campaign message,” Julie Davis reports today on the latest Bloomberg National Poll. Fifty-one percent surveyed said Romney is wrong and Americans work hard and sometimes need government help, while 41 percent said he was right and more people should be able to make it on their own.
An ABC/Washington Post poll has found 54 percent viewing Romney’s remarks negatively (more later.)
As Davis reports, Romney’s negative ratings are preventing him from capitalizing on President Barack Obama’s vulnerabilities in the race for the White House.
Half of Americans hold an unfavorable view of Romney — a September high for a presidential challenger in the last three decades — and 49 percent of likely voters consider the former Massachusetts governor out-of-touch compared with 40 percent who say that of Obama in the Bloomberg survey conducted Sept. 21-24.
Still, Obama heads into the closing stretch of the race with a majority of Americans — 53 percent — disapproving of his handling of the economy, the Bloomberg Poll shows, and Romney holding a slim edge as the candidate likely voters rate best able to create jobs. The president does have one clear advantage — his economic plan is breaking through with more Americans, who give him a 48 percent to 39 percent advantage over Romney on having a vision for a successful future.
In the head-to-head contest, Obama leads Romney among likely voters, 49 percent to 43 percent, even as 60 percent of Americans say the nation is headed off on the wrong track as the president completes his first term.
ABC News and the Washington Post also have found that “public criticism of Romney’s race for the White House has risen sharply, with six in 10 Americans expressing a negative opinion of how he’s handling his campaign and a majority responding unfavorably to his comments on people who don’t pay income taxes.”
Gary Langer, of Langer Research Associates, reports that 61 percent of those surveyed in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll hold an unfavorable view of how Romney’s handling his presidential campaign, up by 12 percentage points since mid-July. Far fewer, 35 percent, rate Romney’s performance positively.
Obama’s ratings for handling his campaign are substantially better, 54-43 percent, favorable-unfavorable. And while ratings of Romney’s campaign have grown more negative, favorable ratings of Obama’s campaign efforts have gained eight points since July.
Langer notes: “These ratings follow controversy last week about Romney’s remark at a Florida fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes, see themselves as “victims” and lack personal responsibility. Fifty-four percent in this survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see his `recent comments about people who don’t pay income taxes’ negatively; 32 percent respond favorably, with the rest unsure.”