VOTERS ON ROMNEY'S BRILLIANT BUSINESS CAREER: MEH
Major-media East Coast journalists whose greatest joy in life is rubbing elbows with Wall Street Masters of the Universe are telling us that Kenyan commie Barack Obama made a huge mistake by attacking Bain Capital. They're doing this for a simple reason: they're terrified (or at least their fat-cat friends are terrified) that such attacks might actually strike a chord with voters.
Could they? So far that's not clear, but one thing that seems to be clear is that Mitt Romney's strategy -- saying next to nothing about his record as governor of Massachusetts and putting all his chips on his tenure at Bain -- doesn't seem to be working.
I'm looking at the numbers in the new (pre-Cory Booker) ABC/Washington Post poll, specifically the numbers on one question in particular, and I'm amazed at how little benefit Romney's getting from his business career (which, after thirty-plus years of corporatist, Reaganite propaganda, would seem to be a terrific selling point for middle-of-the-road voters):
Q: Is Romney's work buying and restructuring companies before he went into politics a major reason you to (support) that candidate, a major reason you to (oppose) that candidate, or not a major factor in your vote?
Here are the results:
Major reason to support 21%
Major reason to oppose 21%
Not a major factor 54%
No opinion 4%
A wash -- an absolute wash. And subgroups you'd think would be impressed by Bain aren't impressed. Whites? A mere two-point advantage for "Major reason to support," with the majority indifferent. Southerners? A four-point advantage, with the majority indifferent. White evangelical Protestants? A mere seven-point advantage -- you'd think Romney would be killing with this group -- and most people indifferent. Really, Romney's only big advantages are with Republicans, conservatives, and conservative Republicans.
Not being the incumbent in a tough economic period is what's keeping Romney in the race. His big "I'm a job creator!" selling point isn't working.
And there's this question:
Q: What do you think is the bigger problem in this country - (unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy), or (over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity)?
Results: 56% think unfairness is a bigger problem; 34% say over-regulation. That's not good for Romney.
I think one problem Romney has is that he's being hoist on his own party's petard. For years, the GOP and the right have tried to distinguish "elitists" from "extremely rich people," with great success -- "elitists" are to be recognized, according to right-wing propaganda, by cultural touchstones (hybrid cars, organic food, stereotypical places of residence, lack of "common touch," etc., etc.). The GOP's last three presidents were two nth-generation preppies who faked ordinariness, preceded by a Hollywood millionaire who faked it even better. But Romney can't fake it. He talks elitist, he dresses elitist, and even his specific path to wealth sounds elitist. Private equity -- what could sound more elitist than that? It's not like drillin' a damn oil well.
(X-posted at Booman Tribune.)