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Please begin with an informative title:

A new poll from Democracy Corps (D) highlights the kind of damage an intra-party fight can cause. Or, maybe it's just getting to know the candidates. Either way (my bold):

More than half of all voters (53 percent) say that the more they watch the Republicans in Congress, the less they like what the Republicans have to offer; only 39 percent say they like it more – a 14 point margin. The country is equally repelled by the Republican presidential contest (53 to 38 percent). The style of their politics and governance is driving away independents.  And more than half of white non-college voters, who were key to Republicans’ wins in 2010[2],  do not like what the Republicans in Congress are offering—a staggering result.
The race for president remains very close, though showing the first signs of improvement for the president.  With his approval rating at 44 percent and vote at 47 percent, you have a close contest.  But Obama’s strong support is up 5 points, has more winnable voters than Romney and has made some important recent gains with key swing groups.  Obama is now winning 40 percent of white-non college voters, his highest total among that group in a year.  Among independents, Obama now trails by just 3 points—cutting his deficit in half since October.

Romney is not popular – only 31 percent of all voters, and only 27 percent of independents, give him a warm, favorable rating.  Obama, on the other hand, remains personally popular, with nearly 50 percent giving him a warm, favorable rating.  As a result, Mitt Romney has not been able to energize voters.  Voters, especially Republicans, are ready to bolt to independent candidates in large numbers — indeed, remarkable numbers.

What's that mean? Consider this graph from the NY Times' Richard W. Stevenson earlier today:

The closer that blue column number gets to 40 or above, the better for Obama. And focusing on that group is what this Bain argument is all about.

It really doesn't matter how it plays out the next few weeks (after all, Romney will be the nominee). But there's no way tying Romney to the image of the guy who closed the factory and fired your ass is going to help him in the fall with blue collar voters, the very voter he has so much trouble connecting with.

And while it's doubtful there'll actually be an independent figure to bolt to, Romney's soft support continues to make him a weak frontrunner, albeit one who has an even weaker divided field to run against.


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Originally posted to Greg Dworkin on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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