Between the attacks on Bain Capital and the new focus on Mitt Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts, it’s not hard to see how the Obama campaign plans to proceed over the next several months. The campaign will challenge Romney on his core qualification for president – his time in the private sector – and highlight his time as governor of Massachusetts, when the state ranked near the bottom in terms of job creation. The Democrats’ goal is to destroy the aura of confidence that surrounds Romney and forms the basis for his political persona.
Whether this is working depends on how you look. According to the latest poll from ABC News and The Washington Post, 46 percent say that Obama would do more to advance the economic interests of their family, compared to 43 percent for Romney. 51 percent say that President Obama would do more to advance the interests of the middle class, a 9 point advantage over Romney. Indeed, the public sees Romney as actively aligned against their economic well-being: 56 percent say that he will do more to advance the interests of financial institutions, and 65 percent say that he would do the same for the interests of wealthy Americans.
Even with that, however, voters are still convinced that Romney would fix the economy if elected president. Yes, respondents look to Obama when it comes to who could better create jobs or who better understands the economic problems of the country, but 47 percent say that Romney would do a better job of handling the economy, compared with 46 percent for Obama. White voters, in particular, are more likely to choose Romney over Obama when it comes to questions of who could better help the economy; among struggling white middle-class families, Romney leads by 26 points, 58 percent to 32 percent.
All of this is evidence that Romney has built an incredibly durable persona as the competent “fix-it” man. If that sticks, then it becomes much easier to convince Americans – or at least, the small percentage that will determine this election – that he’s worth a shot for the next four years. That his plans have little to do with job creation, and everything to do with a radical GOP agenda, is something that won’t come into the equation.