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It was probably something he fired off without even thinking, the kind of casual remark that someone like GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney makes as a matter of course:

RICK PERRY: I'm listenin' to you, Mitt, and I'm hearin' you say all the right things. But I read your first book and it said in there that your mandate in Massachusetts which should be the model for the country. And I know it came out of— of the— the reprint of the book. But, you know, I'm just sayin', you were for individual mandates, my friend.

MITT ROMNEY: You know what? You've raised that before, Rick. And— you're simply wrong.

RICK PERRY: It— it— it was true then. It's true now.

MITT ROMNEY: That— now, this— Rick, I'll— I'll tell you what. 10,000 bucks— $10,000 bet?

Perry, of course, declined (saying "I'm not a betting man"), but immediately after the Dec. 10 Republican debate in Iowa, pundits went wild. Romney's bet showed, they said, how out-of-touch he is with normal Americans, that he can so blithely gamble more money on a single wager than the average household grosses in two-and-a-half months. It also fit perfectly into the narrative of Romney-as-callous-zillionaire, one of his greatest weaknesses.

The question is, will the $10,000 bet make for a good attack line? That's what we wanted to find out. Our first order of business was seeing how familiar people were with the exchange—after all, most Americans don't spend their Saturday nights home watching Republican primary debates. But constant repetition in the media must have had an effect.

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 12/15-18. Registered voters. MoE ±3.1% (no trendlines):

Q: Have you heard about the $10,000 bet Mitt Romney challenged Rick Perry to in last week’s Republican Presidential debate?

Yes: 72
No: 28

I have to admit I was quite surprised at just how high these numbers are—another sign that presidential primaries have truly become much more nationalized. That gave us a nice hefty sample, though, so our next question asked 72 percent who had heard about the bet what they thought of it:

Q: Did Romney’s bet make you more or less likely to vote for him next year, or did it not make a difference either way?

More Likely: 7
Less Likely: 26
No Difference: 67

Perhaps it's not a huge game-changer, but it does seem like the traditional media was right in calling this a negative for Romney. Interestingly, there aren't huge spreads between how Republicans and Democrats feel about this issue, and there's even less daylight between liberals and conservatives: For about a quarter of the public, regardless of party or ideology, the Romney bet is a turn off. Most of the rest don't care, and a very tiny minority of swaggering jerks think even more highly of Mitt now. (Who are these people?)

These numbers, of course, come before a single attack ad has been aired. It may seem like a small or even irrelevant detail, when there are great policy issues at stake. But elections are decided at least as much (if not moreso) based on how people feel about the candidates, not their views on the issues. And if Romney's flippant attitudes about large sums of money damage voters' perceptions of him, so much the better for Barack Obama's reelection chances.

Our usual approval numbers are below. Also, this is our last poll of the year, as the next two weeks are Christmas and New Year's (and we don't poll on holidays). We'll be back in early January. And remember, you can find out complete polling archive here.

Weekly polling numbers

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 09:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This must be one of those outlier weeks. (6+ / 0-)

    Based on all the other polling, this one is worse than all of them.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 09:43:52 AM PST

  •  The sheer scope of the bet should tell any (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, JeffW, 88kathy, Eric Nelson, MichaelNY

    American--even a very wealthy one--that in this economy, or perhaps any economy, it is at the very least in poor taste to make a bet like that in public when you're running for President. It should confirm to anyone with two functioning brain cells that all of these people are oligarchs, plain and simple. I'm surprised it was not more off-putting to more people polled.

    Capitalism may be our enemy, but it is also our teacher. --V.I. Lenin equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 09:44:58 AM PST

  •  I'll bet you $10,000 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, JeffW, MichaelNY

    that Newt is taking the gloves off....

    "They ought to be ashamed of themselves," he said. "They ought to take this junk off the air. And don't hide behind some baloney about 'this super PAC that actually has real control that happens to be run by five of my former staff.' That's just baloney."

    Mitt is about to get Gingrinched.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:13:46 AM PST

  •  This poll doesn't look good for the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, Mr MadAsHell, MichaelNY

    Congressional Dems going into the vacation.  Wonder why, given the bad press that the GOP has been getting, the net would have swung so far.  Is the MoE big enough to explain that swing, I wonder?

    It's a little disconcerting.

    --

    Republicans chap my ass

    Me

    by Marc in KS on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:14:55 AM PST

    •  Wasn't the bad press since 12/18 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marc in KS, MichaelNY

      ,as it was based on the payroll tax issue?

      Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02

      by fearlessfred14 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:44:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dem leaders want to cut Soc Sec, Medicare, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      show no interest in prosecuting Wall Street criminals but are throwing peaceful OWS protesters in jail and evicting them from public lands.  Meanwhile they're fighting for indefinite detention of US citizens, drone assassinations of US citizens, and censorship of the Internet and Twitter.  Meanwhile they're overruling their own advisors to get rid of smog rules, pushing through the Keystone pipeline that will plunder the environment, and making sure that the White House decides how individual women make choices about their own pregnancies (with the Plan B decision.)

      Go ahead, keep telling yourself it's the margin of error.  It's surely not that the Democratic Party has abandoned every principle it once held dear, and its base has finally abandoned the party.

      Question authority -- sez me! :-P

      by Tommy Allen on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:54:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a shit poll. (0+ / 0-)

      Occams razor.

      Fat, stupid and Republican is no way to go through life, son.

      by GOPGO2H3LL on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:46:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't need a big % to be swayed by the bet. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Chapman, MichaelNY

    40% of the country will always vote Republican and 40% will always vote Democratic. The campaigning is to sway the remaining 20%.

    •  There is your anti-gambling vote, (0+ / 0-)

      on both sides of the divide, but I don't think anyone will base a presidential vote on it.  

      "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

      by Loge on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:32:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I would suspect that most of the democrats said it had no effect on them.  So, assuming a net benefit to us of 20% for raising the issue, it's probably closer to 30% or 40% of the undecided voters who would be affected negatively by the bet.

      That's huge!

      Plus, a good ad doesn't simply discuss the bet, it places it into the larger frame of Mitt's cluelessness.

      Mitt cut jobs when he was working at Bain Capital
      Mitt considers anyone who makes less than $200,000 middle class
      Play a clip of the bet

      This could ultimately be fatal.  Remember Bush Senior's amazement at supermarket scanners?  Remember McCain's comment about how $50/hr wasn't enough go get Americans to pick lettuce?

      One man gathers what another man spills

      by John Chapman on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:56:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The bet actually did take place! (9+ / 0-)

    Mitt and Rick Perry after the debate

    "Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality." Mignon McLaughlin

    by djbender on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:19:42 AM PST

  •  Yesterday... (0+ / 0-)

    ..there was at least one recommended diary extolling Obama's rising approval ratings.

    So which poll to believe?  This one or that one?

    Just another reason I think Daily Kos should lay off posting polling data until  2 weeks before a given election.

    If DK is going to continue priding itself on being a website dedicated to logic & consistency, you have to stop posting all these contradictory polls, which serve no purpose except to upset & unsettle the community.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:34:30 AM PST

    •  If you don't want to read poll results (0+ / 0-)

      Don't. There are many other things you can read on DK. Daily Kos Elections, from which this diary originates, will continue to focus on polling and all other aspects of campaigns and elections. You are free to do anything else you like.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:04:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tone deaf AND stupid... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Twitt shouldn't get anywhere near the WHite House, even on a tour!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:34:58 AM PST

  •  The comment on that 7% is a bit harsh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    "a very tiny minority of swaggering jerks think even more highly of Mitt now. (Who are these people?)"

    If you think that Perry can afford it, understand that pols are mostly loaded (or need to be to get anywhere) and aren't bothered by that, for instance because you think it's OK for people to get rich doing a job so long as they do it in a way you see as legitimate, it would be a consistent position. Or if you haven't thought about it too deeply, and just see it as a demonstration of Mittens' point rather than of his wealth. One doesn't need to be a jerk to hold either view, it seems to me, though I guess it would help.

  •  Hey, it's not like an off-the-cuff (0+ / 0-)

    remark in the midst of Presidential campaign has ever caused problems for a Romney, is it?

    I'm EAGER to act to rid the site of anyone that even skirts the line into racism. kos

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:37:39 AM PST

  •  I'm holding out for the Festivus Poll. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

    by jwinIL14 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:39:16 AM PST

  •  "Who are these people?" that like Romney even (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    more? They're probably Romney supporters who will blindly take the pro-Romney stance no matter the question.

  •  Really!!?? you mean I have no life (unless there (0+ / 0-)

    are waves!)

    KOWABUNGA DUDE!!!!

    after all, most Americans don't spend their Saturday nights home watching Republican primary debates

    Brrrrrrrrr "Wetsuit weather" Brrrrrrrr

    by surfdog on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:40:51 AM PST

  •  this does not make sense (0+ / 0-)

    Every other polls shows Obama's job approval close to 50.

    Why is this poll different?

  •  It reminded me of Michael Lewis's (0+ / 0-)

    Liars Poker. That book came out in '89, but in it's own way, foretold where we were headed.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:45:31 AM PST

  •  A more interesting set of numbers would be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Chapman

    to restrict the sample of those questioned about the wager to those who self-identified as Republican or leaning Republican. That big 67% “no change” number is undoubtedly grossly inflated because it includes virtually 100% of non-Repugs.

    •  That's not correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      As I noted in the post, the cross-tabs show that self-identified Republicans come close to matching the numbers for all respondents.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 10:53:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In order for that to be true (0+ / 0-)

        a number of true blue Democrats would have to be more likely or less likely to vote for Mitt as a result of the wager. I find it mind-boggling that any Democrat would ever consider voting for any Republican candidate, at least in those numbers.

        •  Click the link for the poll (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          It's in the post. Check out the crosstabs for yourself. Not sure what else to say.

          Political Director, Daily Kos

          by David Nir on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 02:26:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, in fact, there is a large difference (0+ / 0-)

            The data listed in the table for whether the wager made a difference is:

            More Less NoDiff
            Democrat 8 32 60
            Republican 7 22 71
            Independent/Other 5 24 71
            To me, the data indicates that as many as 40% of the Democrats were probably not even trying to answer this question sincerely or logically. But perhaps that is just a problem inherent in this kind of poll. To verify this, you'd need the opposite kind of question as a control: Would you be More/Less/JustAs likely to vote for Romney if he had not made the wager? (Or another kind of control: Would you be M/L/J likely to vote for Obama IF he had made the same kind of wager?)
  •  The Des Moines Register - Opinion - appears.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..favorable, sort of:

    Romney’s tendency to carefully pick his way through the political minefields is illustrated by his carefully nuanced position on abortion over the years...Voters will have to decide for themselves whether such subtly nuanced statements express Romney’s true beliefs or if he’s trying to have it both ways. Romney at least appreciates both sides of hard questions.
    Carefully nuanced, lol. Quite an endorsement!

    Summed up by Chris Hayes @ UP: "It's like that old cliché - 'If you don't like the eather, wait a little while'"

  •  Familiar Theme (0+ / 0-)

    Team Romney appears to have adopted a familiar theme similar to the one often offered by Bush and McCain and others for the defense of their Iraq policies. Instead of wrapping himself in the American flag and accusing critics of the war of being unpatriotic dividers, Romney is wrapping himself in the flag of "Free Enterprise" and arguing that any criticism of his actions at Bain of destroying American jobs and outsourcing jobs abroad is an attack on free enterprise itself and that you're dividing Americans.

    It's a narrative that we can look forward to hearing a lot more of unless some smart people start drawing a distinction between captains of industry and corporate raiders and parasites.

  •  I think the reason the bet didn't sway (0+ / 0-)

    more people is because it just confirms something people already knew.

    Mitt is rich.

    They may not have known he's a gambler (if, in fact, he is, and this wasn't just some rhetorical stunt gone awry) but do people really care?

    I mean, he loses the $10,000, and then he's worth $249,990,000.

    It also confirms that Mitt is profoundly uncomfortable as a politician, indeed, as a public figure.  But everyone who's ever seen him on TV knows this, too.

    Follow me on Twitter @PeterFlom

    by plf515 on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 11:13:50 AM PST

  •  These numbers disturb me (0+ / 0-)

    With all that's going on, and the signs elsewhere that people are finally waking up to the nature of Republican obstructionism, I would expect better numbers for Obama.

    Plus people keep hating on Reid. Why? He's not a charmer but all he does is plug along trying to get the Rs to agree to something. What are they holding against him exactly?

  •  These numbers are complete shit. (0+ / 0-)

    The GOP is fucking itself with an elephant cock.

    Fat, stupid and Republican is no way to go through life, son.

    by GOPGO2H3LL on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:45:03 PM PST

  •  This poll does not reflect (0+ / 0-)

    the fact that Obama is having a wicked awesome political week.

    You're not getting R2K'd again, are ya dude?

    Fat, stupid and Republican is no way to go through life, son.

    by GOPGO2H3LL on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 12:50:38 PM PST

  •  Mitt's offer of a bet reminds me of (0+ / 0-)

    when I was 9 years old and I was willing to bet just about everybody a million bucks that I could make a rock skip more times on the surface of a lake than they could.  That I didn't have a million bucks to bet AND that the nearest lake was hundreds of miles away were beside the point.  I just liked saying, "Betcha a million bucks.......!"  It gave my bravado some gravitas, at least in my 9-year-old mind.

  •  Mr. Nerr, Do you understand the role of the MSM? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    "...but it does seem like the traditional media was right in calling this a negative for Romney."

    The Main-Stream-Media dubbed this a "negative" from the beginning.

    Some (or most) of those 26% who think it's a "negative" believe that because they heard it in the "traditional media."  

    In other words, the media form public opinion.  This is a big power, and many citizens don't understand how it can work (ie, programming).

    knuckle-dragging Neanderthals

    by Deadicated Marxist on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 01:39:47 PM PST

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