Romney’s Comments About The “47 Percent” Hurting His Favorability

Mitt Romney’s comments last week about the “47 percent” of Americans who don’t pay taxes and receive benefits from the Federal Government are having a negative impact on his likability among voters:

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.

This isn’t particularly surprising. Write off nearly half of the population of the country and say that you don’t need to worry about them and you’re bound to feel the repercussions in the polls. It’s also not the kind of message likely to appeal to independents, to say the least. The numbers reflecting wide disapproval of the manner in which Romney’s campaign is being run are also problematic, because they indicate that people may end up writing Romney off if he doesn’t start turning things around soon.

The Obama campaign has already started airing ads about the comments, not surprisingly. This ad came out yesterday:

And, this one went into circulation today:

I’ve already seen the first ad here in Virginia and I’m sure that the second one will start showing up soon.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    I was in DC for a couple of days and watched some TV in my hotel, a first-hand experience of what you people are going through. As a Californian (safe blue state) I’ve been spared the onslaught. My sympathies to all who live in VA, OH, FL etc…

  2. nitpicker says:

    I, for one, am proud to see Mitt Romney pushing Americans to begin to reject partisanship as they come together in their dislike of him.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: From Cincinnati, thank you. I’ve been noticing that I’m now getting Romney junk mail nearly every day. I’m in the 47% who will vote for Obama no matter what, although lately I’ve been working 60 hours a week to get my government handouts (via DoD contracting). I’ve yet to see a piece of Obama mail. Obama’s targeting software is apparenlty a lot better than Romney’s. Anybody else seeing this?

  4. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: We’ve had quite a bit of Romney direct mail, but no mail from Obama. We have, however, received calls from the Obama campaign, and continue to receive “touch base”-type calls around every 4-6 weeks from a local campaign person.

    We’ve never been big TV watchers, so the ads, while numerous, aren’t making us crazy. Yet.

    We’re in New Hampshire, for reference.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Oh, man, you NH people must be immune to this stuff by now. No one on planet earth gets as much politics.

  6. Me Me Me says:

    Mitt Romney has absolutely nothing on his official schedule from the end of today until the first debate next week. How is it possible that a man who has been running for president for six years needs six days to prepare for a debate.

    There is something wrong with Romney.

  7. MBunge says:

    @Me Me Me: “Mitt Romney has absolutely nothing on his official schedule from the end of today until the first debate next week.”

    Newt would often hold 4 or 5 events every day in South Carolina, while Romney would usually have only one. People are blaming fundraising, but this this just seems like a guy who doesn’t like to campaign in front of actual people.


  8. Rob in CT says:

    I watch very little TV (and will flick away from ads in general, and especially political ads) and listen to very little radio (traffic and weather together on the 8s!), so mostly all I’ve had to deal with is direct mail from Linda McMahon. They’ve sent me the same flier 2 or 3 times, attacking Murphy for agreeing to military spending cuts that will hurt CT jobs. I snickered at the first one, noting how government doesn’t create/sustain jobs except for the DoD budget, and have junked the rest. Nothing from Murphy. I live in McMahon-friendly territory.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    You’d think that Romney would also realize that “getting one’s message out” has its drawbacks. He was able to snowball over all competitors in the primaries by simply blanketing the airwaves with more, more, and more ads. At some point there’s got to be a diminishing effect. If I had ads for a particular candidate blaring in my ear every time I turned around, I’d get pissed off at some point and decide to vote against him.

  10. Fiona says:

    The number of Obama ads here in North Carolina has increased as he’s gained ground in the polls. I’ve seen the first of the 47 percent ads more than once. There’s also some awful, low-budget Romney ad put out by a group supporting him that’s basically a plea for donations. I’ve seen it several times and always wonder whether it’s legitimate.

    I think the 47 percent comment did real damage. As I noted on the other thread, it’s the tone even more than the content that does him in. Voters don’t appreciate having Richy Rich write them off.

  11. Mr. Replica says:

    To tell you the truth, I have only listened to this song once. I am not at all enthralled by it.
    HOWEVER, if Romney actually did what this .gif shows him doing, at one of the debates or something….
    I have no doubt he would get a bounce in his favorability rating.