Rasmussen poll: The Bain attack is a flop

posted at 1:30 pm on January 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

How exactly has Mitt Romney managed to attract a polling surge in the middle of the attacks from Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry over his Bain Capital days?  According to a new Rasmussen poll, it’s because Republicans appear to be ready for a downsizing artist in the White House.  And Republicans don’t appear to be alone, either:

Voters are closely divided over whether Mitt Romney’s business career is a plus or a minus, but most Republicans see it as a plus. Additionally, a plurality of all voters think he would do a better job than President Obama dealing with the economy.

The Republican presidential front-runner has come under increasing attack from some GOP rivals for his work at Bain Capital, a major investment firm, and 34% of Likely U.S. Voters now think Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote against him. However, slightly more (39%) feel that business record is primarily a reason to vote for him, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are undecided.

As Saturday’s critical South Carolina Primary approaches, it appears the criticism of Romney by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry, in particular, is not resonating with Republican voters nationally. Fifty-five percent (55%) of those voters believe Romney’s record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him versus only 20% who see it as a reason to vote against him.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of all voters think Romney would do a better job than Obama managing the economy. Thirty-nine percent (39%) believe the president would do a better job, and 13% more are not sure.

That low number for Obama is a huge problem, especially since it comes in the middle of the Republican food fight.  The economy will be the biggest issue of the election, and Obama can’t get to 40% on it against a mixed field in the GOP.  Imagine where his numbers will be once the GOP unites behind a single candidate.  On the question of which candidate would do better with the economy, a majority of independents give the edge to Romney by a wide margin, 52/30.

The internals have even worse news for Obama, especially if his team takes the Bain bait.  Pushing the fact that Romney has extensive business experience is a big plus among Republicans, as Rasmussen’s summary notes, but it’s also a 15-point plus among independents (42/27).  A majority of Democrats go the other way, but not as strongly as Obama would need at 19/56, with 25% unsure, especially since Republican approval would almost assuredly go through the roof if Romney wins the nomination.  The older voters tend to be, the more positively it is viewed as well — and even among the youngest two demos, opposition doesn’t rise above 38%.  Interestingly, the lowest income demo has a plurality favoring that experience for Romney (40/33); only the $20-40K demo opposes it.  Even the government-employee demographic favors it by double digits, 38/27.

Small wonder that Mark Thiessen tells Romney that he should thank Newt Gingrich for launching this self-defeating attack:

When they meet in the green room before Monday night’s debate in South Carolina, Mitt Romney should probably give Newt Gingrich a big thank you. In just a few days’ time, Gingrich has managed has to do something Romney has tried and failed to do for more than five years: rally conservatives behind Mitt Romney.

Rush Limbaugh has called Gingrich’s attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital “indefensible,” “sad,” “absurd,” and “the language of leftists like Michael Moore and Oliver Stone.” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola declared them “disgusting” and called on Gingrich to “apologize to Governor Romney.”  The Wall Street Journal wrote that those like Gingrich attacking Romney’s business record “are embarrassing themselves” and “taking the Obama line.”

Voters in South Carolina appear to agree. At a candidates’ forum hosted by Mike Huckabee on Saturday, Gingrich was booed lustily when he tried to defend his Bain attacks. Hilton Head resident Donald Harespoke for many when he was asked by the New York Times this weekend if he is supporting Romney and replied “I am now. What Newt did convinced me.” A new Insider Advantage poll this weekend shows Romney gaining ground with an 11-point lead. It appears the former speaker’s anti-capitalist attacks have only helped, not hurt, Romney’s campaign.

Why has Gingrich’s ploy backfired so badly? The attacks have undermined the main message of his campaign: that he is the principled conservative in the race, while Romney is a flip-flopper who will say anything to get elected. In parroting Barack Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric, Gingrich has managed to turn himself into the candidate who abandons his conservative principles to get elected — while Romney is now positioned as the principled defender of free-market capitalism. That is quite an achievement on Gingrich’s part.

It certainly is, but it might be more basic than that.  It could be, as Larry Kudlow suggests, that voters who want to reduce the size and inefficiencies of the federal government think experience in this area is a plus:

There’s a very troubled company out there called U.S. Government Inc. It’s teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. And it badly needs to be taken over and turned around. It probably even needs the services of a good private-equity firm, with plenty of experience and a reasonably good track record in downsizing, modernizing, shrinking staff and making substantial changes in management. Yes, layoffs will be a necessary part of the restructuring.

A quick look at the income statement of this troubled firm tells the story. Just in the past year (FY 2011), the firm spent $3.7 trillion, but took in only $2.2 trillion in sales revenues. Hence its deficit came to $1.5 trillion.

Just in the first three months of the new year (FY 2012), the firm’s troubles continued. Outlays for all purposes came in at $874 billion, but income was only $554 billion. So the shortfall was $320 billion. No hope of a self-imposed turnaround here. Indeed, both the senior management and the board of directors show no signs of making major changes to their business strategy.

Hope for future profits? That’s out of the question. The firms only chance of survival is a takeover. … So now the question is, will America Inc. ask this former turnaround CEO to prevent the bankruptcy of U.S. Government Inc.? Isn’t a Bainful turnaround exactly what America needs?

The effect of these attacks might just be that outcome.  If Democrats are licking their chops now over Bain, they may find themselves doing facepalms in a few months instead.


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CaliforniaRefugee on January 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

I’m just hoping some of them come around after the dust has settled and the choice becomes clear.

steel guy on January 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Oh, I will add one thing. Newegg where I bought the XFX card from, went totally against the Romney version of capitalism and offered me a 20% of the cost of the product back when they discovered that there was no way for me to have known how to make my lifetime warranty valid based on their webpage. They took a hit to do what I see is true capitalism, giving value to your customers. They also work very hard in other areas. I had a power supply fail within warranty, the company had been sold off to another company which told me to suck rotten eggs, and I contacted Newegg and asked if I had any other options, they contacted that company and within 3 hours I had them call me and offer me an upgraded power supply.
Companies like that are the ones I think of when I think of Capitalism, much like my old hometown bank that gave me credit when I was young and had no credit.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

I believe in honorable business activities….

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

[snort] You believe in nothing of the sort! What you believe in is that we are poor pathetic creatures are in need of your salvation. If you want to charge these companies with fraud, then consider why you don’t or can’t, and you will always arrive at government…. NOT CAPITALISM!!!!!!

CaliforniaRefugee on January 16, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Imagine where his numbers will be once the GOP unites behind a single candidate.

…and the Democrats, MSM, etc. unite against that single candidate.

Right now they’re using a shotgun approach to make the GOP as a whole look bad. As soon as the candidate is decided they’ll be able to attack just that one person 24/7.

sockpuppetpolitic on January 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I feel like this is a turning point for HotGas. The Romneybots have for the first time dominated over the ABRtards.

haner on January 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

and the Democrats, MSM, etc. unite against that single candidate

That is a given no matter who the candidate is. The trick is to get the Republican nomination without offending the independents too much.

steel guy on January 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Newt Gingrich – Super Genius.

beatcanvas on January 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIPr23xyoZg

rubberneck on January 16, 2012 at 3:26 PM

[snort] You believe in nothing of the sort! What you believe in is that we are poor pathetic creatures are in need of your salvation. If you want to charge these companies with fraud, then consider why you don’t or can’t, and you will always arrive at government…. NOT CAPITALISM!!!!!!

CaliforniaRefugee on January 16, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Really? how do you fight fraud without the government? Is it not the government’s courts that find if fraud occurred? Is it not the government that defines fraud. Besides, it is not fraud to claim a limited lifetime warranty for a product and then in the fine print make it impossible for the owner of the product to use it and keep the warranty valid. It is up to me the customer to find out in advance what those limits are, but I and many Americans are a bit lazy on those things. Don’t use metal utensils, check. Do no put on a high burner empty, check. Season a non seasonable pan in the oven once every 6 months? Failed. It is not fraud, it is subterfuge. Smaller containers show the number of ounces in a package, but they count on their customers not looking at the box, it has always been a half gallon and it looks just the same. The customer’s let these companies get away with it. Romney supporters arguments are nothing less than telling Americans to live with immoral business practices or you are attacking capitalism and trying to ruin our entire way of life.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

It may be a flop in the primaries, it will be a winner in the general.

For the Mittbots who can’t see 2 inches in front of their face, here is how the MSM will portray the fight….

Humble middle class black man from Chicago trying to help the middle class survive after 8 years of recklessness

vs

Rich old white millioniare Wall St executive who LOVES TO FIRE PEOPLE and did so multiple times in small towns all over America. PS, did you also know the nutty stuff his religion believes in….like Satan and Jesus are bros?

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

No it isn’t. Huckeabee and McCain both played the Bain card in 2008.

sloopy on January 16, 2012 at 2:13 PM

They made quick little jabbing comments that were somewhat vague. Personally it annoyed me greatly when they did, but at least it wasn’t something they dwelled on. Gingrich, in the past two weeks, has made it the cornerstone of his campaign.

He has brought it up more often, gone into more detail, and used more inflammatory language than McCain or Huckabee would have ever dared use.

On top of that, notice that of all the jabs, attacks, and general campaigning that occurred in 2008, those remarks of McCain and Huckabee still stood out as very noticeable? More noticeable than the numerous veiled comments Huckabee made about Romneys religion during his campaign in Iowa.

That should tell you just how noticeable it is when Republicans stoop to this level.

WolvenOne on January 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Really? how do you fight fraud without the government? Is it not the government’s courts that find if fraud occurred? Is it not the government that defines fraud.
astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Lemme check with Sean Hannity……

He says shut you commie!

Case closed.

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Right now they’re using a shotgun approach to make the GOP as a whole look bad. As soon as the candidate is decided they’ll be able to attack just that one person 24/7.

sockpuppetpolitic on January 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Yep. The MSM does this every time there is a competitive GOP primary. Sit back and wait until there is a winner. Then bring out the knives.

Remember how McCain was the NY Times’ favorite Republican? Right until the day after he had the primary wrapped up. Then he turned into a crazed lunatic who wanted to bomb every country on earth and would be a senile old version of GWB.

The day after Romney is coronated, some time in March, same thing. Mr. Pragmatic, centrist Republican we can work with ===> Mormon freak who loves to fire people and eat puppies for fun at his 10K beach mansion.

And the Mittens brigade will cry about how unfair it is that the MSM doesn’t love them anymore.

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Since we now know that Gingrich wasn’t “lustily booed”…
Rose on January 16, 2012 at 1:59 PM

It is true that Fox News pushed the story that “the audience drowned out Gingrich with boos,” while one has to strain to almost maybe hear one boo on the video. Or not even one.

But Fox is a pathetic joke. The fact that the other networks are in-the-tank, partisan hack, pathetic jokes does not entail that Fox is not a pathetic joke.

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM

I dont’ have an opinion about the poll. And Newtress does nothing for me.

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM

The “Bain attack” is not a total flop for Comrade Newty. He got his fellow traveler Michael Moore all excited about it.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM

FTR, Thomas Sternberg of Staples was on Fox & Friends earlier today. He had nothing but the highest praise for Romney – essentially saying he was the best CEO/board member he’s ever known. He described a brilliant, “inspirational” man who stayed with the Staples board, guiding it for about 10 years. Can’t find a transcript unfortunately…

Buy Danish on January 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

But Fox is a pathetic joke. The fact that the other networks are in-the-tank, partisan hack, pathetic jokes does not entail that Fox is not a pathetic joke.

kunegetikos on January 16, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Wait a second. You mean Sean Hannity doesn’t actually believe 1/2 the crap spewing from his mouth….he’s told to say it by Fox?

I.AM.SHOCKED

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Rich old white millioniare Wall St executive who LOVES TO FIRE PEOPLE and did so multiple times in small towns all over America. PS, did you also know the nutty stuff his religion believes in….like Satan and Jesus are bros?

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:36 PM

How many folks in small towns all over America have either lost a job or had hopes of finding one destroyed by the policies of Barack Obama? You think that question won’t come up at all? The mask is dropping and it’s becoming more and more evident that you’re nothing more than one of Jim Messina’s talking-point bots trolling for Obama.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

FTR, Thomas Sternberg of Staples was on Fox & Friends earlier today. He had nothing but the highest praise for Romney – essentially saying he was the best CEO/board member he’s ever known. He described a brilliant, “inspirational” man who stayed with the Staples board, guiding it for about 10 years. Can’t find a transcript unfortunately…

Buy Danish on January 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

The guy that owes his millions to Romney has nice things to say about Romney? You don’t say….

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

How many folks in small towns all over America have either lost a job or had hopes of finding one destroyed by the policies of Barack Obama? You think that question won’t come up at all? The mask is dropping and it’s becoming more and more evident that you’re nothing more than one of Jim Messina’s talking-point bots trolling for Obama.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

OK. Let’s all pretend Bain didn’t happen. Just like we’ll pretend Romeny didn’t raise taxes, didn’t ban guns, didn’t shut down power plants, didn’t create a health care mandate.

You might pretend it didn’t happen. The MSM won’t.

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Cicerone:

Again, the MSM meme:

Obama tried and tried to turn the economy around. But those horrible tea party radicals won’t let him because they’re racist.

vs.

Romney single handedly handed out pink slips chanting I LOVE TO FIRE PEOPLE

You can pretend it’s not coming all you want.

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

The guy that owes his millions to Romney has nice things to say about Romney? You don’t say….

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

“There you go again.” –Ronald Reagan

Keep whining about capitalism, comrade. That’s the way to make the case for Che Gingrich’s true Conservatism. He’s a “good” rich old white millioniare, right?

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Romney single handedly handed out pink slips chanting I LOVE TO FIRE PEOPLE

You can pretend it’s not coming all you want.

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I’m sure it IS coming. And that kind of out-of-context nonsense was coming no matter WHAT Romney says. I expect that from the clueless, dishonest Left. The question is why are YOU so excited by such a statement? Obviously you’re not interested in defeating Obama.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

The guy that owes his millions to Romney has nice things to say about Romney? You don’t say….

angryed on January 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM

To channel a certain fictional character, your statement is illogical.

If Romney wasn’t a good businessman, he wouldn’t have made this guy millions of dollars, now would he. You’re treating it as if it were a bribe, when in fact, it is corroborating evidence.

By that logic, nobody can praise Reagan because everybody benefited from his presidency, therefore everybody has ulterior motives to praise him.

WolvenOne on January 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Here ya go. Found the vid at Fox website. Thomas Stemberg said, “Mitt is the “single best corporate director I ever worked with.” That’s the beginning of his lavish praise for the Governor Romney.

Buy Danish on January 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

I wanted to let you know I had viewed the pics, and thought they all looked very good.

listens2glenn on January 16, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Yes, that was my son. Thankfully he is home safe and sound.

csdeven on January 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Yes, but Bain WILL matter in the general election and that’s why Romney has no chance. Nominating a guy who is involved with wall street is a loser. Right or wrong the majority of Americans blame bankers for the 2008 meltdown. In fact they hate wall street. Obama will get reelected unless Europe meltdowns and causes a worldwide panic. Nuff said

davemason2k on January 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

On top of that, notice that of all the jabs, attacks, and general campaigning that occurred in 2008, those remarks of McCain and Huckabee still stood out as very noticeable? More noticeable than the numerous veiled comments Huckabee made about Romneys religion during his campaign in Iowa.

That should tell you just how noticeable it is when Republicans stoop to this level.

WolvenOne on January 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

They’re noticeable only because a commenter on HA pointed them out earlier. I didn’t remember them at all. I remembered Huck’s bigotry against Mormons but I don’t think I even ever knew about any jabs either of them made about Bain.

It helps, though, that HA didn’t write entire articles about them and Fox News didn’t blow it up. So perhaps the difference is that the Republican Establishment doesn’t like who it’s coming from this time.

Shay on January 16, 2012 at 4:14 PM

My heart breaks for Gingrich.

That poor, poor, girl.

aquaviva on January 16, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2012 at 1:35 PM

weren’t you on another comment section here at HA stating that huntsman had refused to lose his soul? Funny, that is write out of the mouth of Axelrod, campaign manager for Obama. Very strange in deed that you would almost copy verbatim the comments from Axelrod.

Tell me Shad, you really Axelrod????

Makes me think any comment from you is now 100% suspect.

Have a good day!

uhangtight on January 16, 2012 at 4:22 PM

My heart breaks for Gingrich.

That poor, poor, girl.

aquaviva on January 16, 2012 at 4:21 PM

It should be breaking for this country, where voters emote rather than think when they get into the voting booth. I don’t know how else to explain Obama. Or some of the discourses here! The public schools certainly did what they set out to do.

Eren on January 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Astonerii @ 3:05

Romney supporters and Romney himself trying to say otherwise is actually a far far more destructive to capitalism argument than anything myself or Newt has ever said. It makes it an argument that poor business practices should not be criticized so there can be improvements.

Exactly right. All the idiots spewing the ‘if you dare say ANYTHING about Bain, you’re a Marxist’ dogma don’t get that they’re contributing far more to the erosion of Free Enterprise than anything Newt, Perry or even Obama say.

What they seem not to get is that defending or glorifying EVERY ASPECT of legal free enterprise feeds the fuels of class warfare and is destructive to free enterprise.

As I said further up, I’m starting to think what the libs say is true: the preponderence of stupid is on our side.

avgjo on January 16, 2012 at 4:47 PM

The Bain attack is a flop

Whistling past the graveyard.

Most people outisde of a small number of Repubs in SC and poltical junkies are not paying that much attention yet.

Now that Romney is the “presumptive” nominee, the Dems will lie low and load up.

When the time is right, there will be stories upon stories of Bain capitalizing on the “working man”.

Fair or unfair, one one them will stick. And then adnauseum, that is all the newscycle will feature (until the deed is done and Romney’s new name with be a hyphenated version of the Bain “victim”).

tonotisto on January 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Foolish people. What do attacks on Bain matter?

When capitalism was completely abandoned in 08′ by Republicans.
they proved when things get tuff capitalism can be thrown out the window.

Now they all come out of the closet when its the establishment nominee being attacked to defend it. wait tell the euro poops out and President Romeny sends our Tax dollars right over there.

boogaleesnots on January 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Ed? Is that you Ed? Have you finally come to your senses?

Donkeyhoti on January 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Reason 101: FREE BEER!

Of course this attack flopped. Everyone warned Newt to stop playing with matches. He should be a little pepperpot during the debate. He’ll be nasty as all get out and will get booed. Then Rick Santorum will be there to play cleanup.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Reason 101: FREE BEER!

Of course this attack flopped. Everyone warned Newt to stop playing with matches. He should be a little pepperpot during the debate. He’ll be nasty as all get out and will get booed. Then Rick Santorum will be there to play cleanup.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Actually, I would more call this an effectively deflected attack rather than a flop.
Romney, the media and Romney’s supporters indulged themselves in the exact same kind of scorched Earth defenses that true conservatives refuse to engage in. They brought out the Shut the F^ck Up defense.

Obama wants to do something unconstitutional that no president in history has ever done. Conservatives argue that this is wrong. The progressives and the bring out their Shut the F^ck up defense. If you attack Obama, you are attacking all blacks in the country and you must be a racist!

The Tea Party wants to stop the government from increasing the debt ceiling. The progressives bring out their Shut the F^ck up defense. If you will not allow the government to continue to go into debt to the tune of trillions a year you are a terrorist!

Throwing grandma off a cliff. Now Romney and his supporters have given the progressives the argument that they will use of, if you say anything bad about a companies activities, you are anti-capitalist. You just basically gave away the whole argument with your progressive Shut the F^ck up defense.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Whistling past the graveyard.

tonotisto on January 16, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Whistling past 40% and climbing ;-)

MJBrutus on January 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Great Kudlow. I’d even go further and push for outsourcing of some of the bigger headcount-heavy federal departments. Look at the IRS, let’s let a contract on a per-state basis for basic processing and auditing, and let accounting firms bid.

slickwillie2001 on January 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Great Kudlow. I’d even go further and push for outsourcing of some of the bigger headcount-heavy federal departments. Look at the IRS, let’s let a contract on a per-state basis for basic processing and auditing, and let accounting firms bid.

slickwillie2001 on January 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

But people who work for the government on an outsourced contract basis are evil.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Newt screwed up, plain and simple. Of course the Dems are going for the OWS throw-grandma-off-the-cliff argument. Class warfare has always been their mantra against Romney and the GOP in general since President Jackass was elected.

Obummer announced his new cabinet position to help small- to medium-sized businesses when Romney won NH. Obummer thinks business people are stupid enough the trust the government with capitalism as opposed to someone who had a career in the private sector.

Look where Newt’s attacks got him. Good luck digging out, Newt.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 8:13 PM

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