While criticism of Romney’s business record may not resonate with elites, it is clearly resonating with the actual voters who will decide this election. New independent data this week replaces theoretical banter by pundits with empirical evidence from voters.Burton's evidence:
- On Friday, ABC's Amy Walters reported that female voters expressed concern about Bain in focus groups in Richmond, Virginia and Las Vegas, Nevada. "That whole thing where factories have shut down, that concerns me," said a former McCain voter. "That’s scary because I work for a small business."
- Reuters, reporting on the same focus groups, which were conducted with female Wal-Mart shoppers. "In the aisles of Wal-Mart, Bain is a four-letter word."
- CNN's Maria Cardona described the focus groups like this:
When asked to use one word or phrase to describe Romney, the words or phrases they used included "Don't know that much about him," "selfish, "businessman who is concerned with making himself some money," "concerned about the wealthy," "can't be trusted," "scares me," and "lackluster" -- again, echoing some of what is being said in the Bain ads around the country."
- Last week's Daily Kos/SEIU State of the Nation poll conducted by PPP showed moderate and independent voters by 48-8 and 40-11 margins respectively said Bain made them less likely to vote for Mitt Romney.
- According to University of Albany Professor Bruce Gyory, the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows that while many voters have yet to hear much about Bain, among those who have, it's seen as a negative by a 2:1 margin.
- The bipartisan Purple Poll conducted in battleground states shows that more Americans see private equity as bad for the economy than believe it is good for the economy. Even conservative Byron York recognized that Bain is perceived differently by working class voters in states like Ohio than it is among elites on the eastern seaboard.
Evidence like this explains why Bain isn't going away as a campaign issue. Last month, Priorities USA launched a $7 million battleground state ad campaign hitting Romney over Bain. Today, the group launched its newest spot in that campaign, continuing to hammer Romney for shutting down Missouri's GST Steel.
Also today, Priorties USA launched a Spanish-language ad in conjunction with SEIU/COPE. As with the English language ads, these new spots use Romney's private sector record against him. "Mitt Romney made millions of dollars leaving thousands of people out of work," one ad says. "He's not thinking about us."