Most are negative about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments

September 26, 2012

A majority of Americans have unfavorable views of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s comments -- caught on film at a fundraiser -- regarding the “47 percent" of people who don't pay federal income taxes and simply would not vote for him, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll


Fifty-four percent of those polled regarded Romney's comments in an unfavorable light while 32 percent saw them favorable. The public reaction to the comments is, not surprisingly this close to an election, a partisan one. More than three-quarters of Democrats have negative impressions of Romney’s comments, with most having “strongly unfavorable” views. Independents too tilt negative by more than 2 to 1: 57 to 27 percent. (Among Republicans, nearly two-thirds have favorable views of Romney’s comments.)

And it's not just the "47 percent" comments that are polling poorly when it comes to Romney. Sixty-one percent of all Americans -- and voters alike -- express negative views of how the Republican challenger is running his campaign. That number is up significantly from July -- the near-certain result of the much-publicized comments by Romney.

Democrats -- and more importantly independents -- are the ones souring on Romney’s stewardship of his campaign. Fully 64 percent of political independents now hold unfavorable impressions of Romney’s campaign, up 18 percentage points from July. The turnabout is particularly dramatic among independent women: in July they split 44 to 41 percent on the GOP campaign; now it is 29 percent favorable and 66 percent unfavorable.

By contrast, things have shifted in a more positive direction for President Obama. In the new poll, 54 percent have favorable impressions of how he is handling his campaign; 43 percent unfavorable ones. There was a 46-45 split in July. Since then, the number of Democrats expressing favorable views jumped 14 percentage points.

The findings reflect several other polls this week, including a Post-Pew poll showing lagging GOP satisfaction with their presidential choices and Post polls in Florida and Ohio where Democratic voters express more enthusiasm for Obama than do Republicans for Romney.

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Sean Sullivan · September 25, 2012