Romney And Obama Have Both Had One Big Gaffe — But Voters Only Care About One Of Them

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The two major “missteps” or “gaffes” of the campaign have been President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line and Mitt Romney’s comments on the “47 per cent” of people that will support Obama because of a dependence on government.But when compared side by side, there’s a big difference in how much the two statements set back each candidate. 

NBC and the Wall Street Journal measured the effect of the statements in a new poll released Tuesday, and they found that Romney’s comments hurt him much more than did Obama’s. In fact, when given in full context, Obama’s comments actually appear to help him. 

According to the poll, 45 per cent of respondents viewed Romney in a more negative light when told of this statement:

Mitt Romney recently said 40 seven per cent (47%) of people will vote for President Obama no matter what because they are dependent upon government, believe they are victims, and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them. He said his message of low taxes does not connect with the 40-seven per cent (47%) of Americans who pay no income taxes so his job is not to worry about those people as he will never convince them they should take personal responsibility for their lives.

Only 23 per cent, meanwhile, viewed Romney in a more positive light. Comparatively, 36 per cent of respondents viewed Obama more positively and only 32 per cent more negatively after being read this statement:

Barack Obama recently said that if you have been successful, you did not get there on your own. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create the American system that allowed you to thrive. He said if you have a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen. When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

Romney and Republicans have spent much time during the campaign — especially at their convention — hitting Obama for the remark. Their attacks usually strictly focus on the “you didn’t build that” line, and this does not measure how voters react to that statement alone. 

But the poll suggests that Romney’s misstep could be far more of a lightning rod for the Republican nominee as the campaign hits its final five weeks. 

 

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