Poor Mitt Romney can’t catch a break. Just when Barack Obama’s post convention bounce was starting to fade, the release of secretly taped videos of Romney recorded at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser in May have offered the political media a chance to play pick your own gaffe with the candidate’s speech to donors. Since the full videos were released late on Monday, the main story has been Romney’s analysis that the 47% of Americans who pay no income tax (and thus are dependent on the government) won’t vote for him. Hooray for class warfare?
If Romney’s not worried about “the 47%,” just who is he worried about?
Oh. Of course. Independent voters.
Yes, despite recent headlines from mainstream media sources like “Undecided voters are a tiny cohort that may not matter in the end,” or “Dwindling numbers of undecided voters try to decide who is the lesser of two evils,” Romney still seemed to be concerned with independents (at least as far back as May) when he finished the second half of his now infamous ’47% remark.’
To win the election, Romney stated that instead of ‘the 47%’, he needed to focus on “the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful.” Now that’s more like it! Here’s two important points that we’d like to make about Romney’s remarks.
1. Romney’s right about independents. And in the tape, he was sharing his ‘true feelings’ on how to win the 2012 election and speaking candidly to the room, without a teleprompter or “quote approval.” Pure, unfiltered Mitt Romney! Ironically, with the release of said video, many of these independents or leaning Romney voters are probably having serious second thoughts about his candidacy. Why? Because…
2. Romney’s out of touch with independents. If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, this video’s release has sealed it. Fair, it’s hard to sound “in touch” with an average independent voter when trying to woo the rich political donor class, but for the Romney campaign who’s been attacking Obama’s “class warfare,” this could be a proverbial nail in the coffin on that issue.
Yesterday, Suzy Khimm of the Washington Post pointed out that polling of independent voters backs up point number two:
“It’s worth remembering that a significant majority of these independent voters also hold a strong view of the safety net: They believe that the government should help those in need—and that it should guarantee basic food and shelter, according to a Pew poll that Jim Tankersley flags.
In June, Pew found that 59 percent of independents believe that the government “should help those who cannot help themselves.” Moreover, 58 percent believe that the government should guarantee minimal food and shelter. Those views have weakened slightly over the past few years, but they’re still held more strongly by independents than self-identified Republicans, whose support of the safety net has plummeted:
Some of these independents may agree with Romney that more of those receiving government assistance are able to help themselves. But most independent voters also believe that the government should “guarantee every citizen enough to eat and a place to sleep.”
What are your views on Mitt Romney’s remarks as an independent voter? Comment and let us know, especially if you’re one of ‘the 47%.’