Photo: Bain Capital/Boston Globe
The Obama campaign spends a good portion of its time hitting Mitt Romney’s record in running private-equity firm Bain Capital. But a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll suggests that Bain-framed attacks aren’t resonating with most voters. An astounding 53 per cent of voters surveyed have never heard of Bain or don’t know enough to form an opinion. More people overall have a negative opinion (20 per cent) than a positive opinion (8 per cent).
The Obama campaign’s latest barrage against Romney’s time at Bain came last Friday, when it hit Romney for a Washington Post report that Bain owned companies that were “pioneers” in outsourcing.
In another result from the poll, the second most popular item that comes to mind when people think about Romney is that he is a “good businessman.” 10 per cent of respondents said that was the “first thing” that comes to mind about Romney. That compares with 4 per cent for “big business” and 3 per cent for “Bain Capital.”
There’s a similar case for Solyndra, the energy company Obama’s government provided with support before it went bankrupt just more than two years later. 50-nine per cent of people have never heard of Solyndra or don’t have enough information to form an opinion. Only 1 per cent said it’s the “first thing” that comes to mind about Obama. So that whole secret press conference Romney had at Solyndra? Probably a negligible effect, if anything.
This doesn’t suggest that Bain-themed attacks by the Obama campaign or Solyndra-themed attacks by the Romney campaign couldn’t work. The key is to keep the focus on elements that resonate with voters.
For example, but a 2006 Pew Research poll found that Americans aren’t very keen on outsourcing. According to Pew, “77 per cent felt that increased outsourcing has hurt American workers while 31 per cent thought their own job could be done by someone outside the country.”
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