Poll: Public Views Romney Comments On Embassy Protests Negatively

A new Pew Center poll on the protests and violence in the Muslim world that began last week has some unfortunate news for Mitt Romney:

About four-in-ten Americans (43%) have followed news about the attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and the killing of an American ambassador very closely, making it by far the most closely followed foreign news story of the year.

Those who have followed this story have much more positive opinions about Barack Obama’s handling of the situation than Mitt Romney’s comments on the crisis. Nearly half (45%) approve of Obama’s handling of the recent attacks on U.S. embassies and the killing of the U.S. ambassador in Libya; 36% disapprove of Obama’s handling of this situation.

In contrast, only about a quarter (26%) of those who have tracked news on turmoil in the Middle East approve of Romney’s comments on the situation; nearly half (48%) disapprove.

It’s unclear what kind of impact all of this is going to have on the campaign, but if this is any indication of how the public is going to evaluate the events of the past week or so,  then the Republican assumption that the events in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere would undercut the President’s advantage on foreign policy looks like it’s going to turn out to be untrue.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, National Security, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    That really is a funny article by Pew. At one level it sort of reminds me of several years ago, during the height of Bush Derangement Syndrome, when within a few days of some noteworthy event the media breathlessly would publish polls that said, go figure, the public disapproved of Bush’s handling of it all. Of course it didn’t matter what it was about. From Iraq, to Afghanistan, to New Orleans, all the way to Indonesia, whether the topics were that of war, tsunamis, hurricanes, the economy, or whatever, rest assured that the public disapproved. Now back over you, Katie.

    Of course what makes this latest puff piece by Pew all that more cognitively dissonant is that Zombieland generally wouldn’t know a foreign embassy from Embassy Suites and the notion that far more people would approve of Obama’s handling of this Tehran ’79-style crisis than Romney’s comments about it fails the basic EEG flatllne test.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    It’s fits the emerging narrative, that’s why it’s damaging. It magnifies Mr. Romney’s weaknesses and reveals new ones, adding to the robustness of the story and contrasting badly with Mr. Obama’s coolness under pressure.

  3. Davebo says:

    Yes Tsar, the public was absolutely enamored with the war in Iraq, hurricanes, the war in Afghanistan (well, those that were born prior to it’s beginning which is certainly becoming a smaller subset of the public).

    Four More Hurricanes! They are an insurance adjusters dream don’t ya know!

  4. It took a couple days for the whole story to sink in for me, how bad it really was.

    It’s a deal-breaker.

    It’s a failure at the 3 am phone call test.

    I know there are people who don’t get that, and don’t understand the importance of stepping back at that point and seeing the big picture (for the nation and for his own campaign), but it was an epic fail.

  5. Derrick says:

    It took a couple days for the whole story to sink in for me, how bad it really was.

    I’m in agreement. I’m clearly an Obama supporter, but while I disagree with Mitt I’ve never had any real animus towards him and wasn’t even enthused to vote for Obama. Last weeks demonstration of craven political pot shots during crisis changed all that. Obama got the first of many checks from me. I hate to agree with Bill Maher, but last week might have been the nail in the coffin for Mitt.

  6. legion says:

    It’s unclear what kind of impact all of this is going to have on the campaign,

    Um, no it’s not. The vast flood of narrative stories coming out today about dissension within the Romney campaign – the finger-pointing, the back-stabbing? That’s _exactly_ the impact this has on the campaign. Don’t forget – those guys have access to much more detailed & timely polls than us mere mortals. This crash started at the RNC, but it culminated with Romney’s recent disastrous failure at injecting himself into the embassy attacks storylines. The rats are abandoning the ship…

  7. stonetools says:

    The takeaway: Obama’s foreign policy advantage on Romney grows, rather than shrinks, and Obama has another stick to beat Romney with in the foreign policy debate.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Mr. Romney’s foreign policy, such as it is, seems to be 1) Covert war in Syria, 2) Trade war with China, 3) Open war with Iran.

    Because all that will make the economy so much better.

  9. anjin-san says:

    Has Romney controlled the narrative in a positive manner for even a single day since he became the presumptive nominee?

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Because all that will make the economy so much better.

    Mines in the Straights of Hormuz are a key stimulus in Mitt’s economic policy statement Michael. I’m sure you have read it.

  11. george says:

    I doubt Romney’s foreign policy (as bad as it is) will make much difference – American’s aren’t often primarily thinking of it when they vote. How he presents himself on the other hand will make a big difference. So far I think he’d be better off to limiting himself and Ryan to looking Presidential while saying nothing (and I mean, keeping his mouth shut – he’s got a flat personality, and Ryan’s itching to bring up issues the GOP is best not to raise).

  12. Me Me Me says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Iraq, Afghanistan,New Orleans, Indonesia, war, tsunamis, hurricanes, the economy, or whatever, were, in fact, failures under Bush. Therefore, is it really so surprising that the public disapproved?

  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    michael:

    Mr. Romney’s foreign policy, such as it is, seems to be 1) Covert war in Syria, 2) Trade war with China, 3) Open war with Iran. Because all that will make the economy so much better.

    Well, it will make your economy better if you happen to be in the war business.

    The GOP loves the idea of government stimulus, but only if it’s wrapped up inside a nice war. They also love the idea of nation-building, but only if it’s someone else’s nation.

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    Has Romney controlled the narrative in a positive manner for even a single day since he became the presumptive nominee?

    What also amazes me is the way he has been so consistently behind in the polling, for so long. Last time Mitt was leading in the RCP national average: 10/11/11. And the lead lasted less than a week, and had a maximum magnitude of 0.6%.

    In the history of polling, has any candidate been so consistently behind for so long?

    Obama is running against a guy who got beaten by a guy (McCain) who got beaten by Obama, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Obama is a much stronger candidate and campaigner.

  15. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    That really is a funny article by Pew. At one level it sort of reminds me of several years ago, during the height of Bush Derangement Syndrome,

    Are you saying there’s a new, really exciting, Romney Derangement Syndrome?

  16. Just Me says:

    His comments are viewed negatively because the media covered it that way.

    The day after our Ambassador was murdered, the front page story wasn’t ”ambassador dead in Libya” but “Romney made a gaffe.”

    Not saying criticism was necessarily wrong, but the media narrative on this story has totally ignored the actual story-the violence in these countries, and pretty much once again gives Obama a totally free pass.