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[bumped — Barbara Morrill]

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Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU. 9/7-9. Likely voters. MoE ±3.1% (9/13-16 results):

Q: Does Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?

More likely: 21
Less likely: 38
No difference: 39

This was the qualification that Romney was supposed to run on out of the gate, yet Democrats have essentially neutered it. Not only is it a plus for just a small minority of the electorate, but it's a minority (25 percent) even among independents. Even among Republicans, just 37 percent say Romney's Bain experience makes them more likely to vote for their guy.

When you can't talk about your religion, your tenure as governor of Massachusetts, your uneventfully gilded upbringing, and your business experience, what's left? Attacking Obama's handling of the economy?

Q: Do you think the Republicans are intentionally stalling efforts to jump-start the economy to insure that Barack Obama is not re-elected, or not?

They are: 47
They are not: 41
Not sure: 11

And here is where Republicans are in deep trouble. Democrats and Republicans respond the obvious way—Democrats are convinced Republicans are purposefully sabotaging the economy, while Republicans are shocked(!) anyone would suggest that. But among independents, the yes/no breakdown is 47/43.

That is, nearly half of independents ascribe economic malice to the GOP. That is certainly a reason why Republicans have been unable to tie our crap economy around Obama's neck. Republicans are happy to blame the president entirely for those problems. But unaffiliated voters aren't so sure. In fact ...

Q: Do you think the economy would be in better shape now if John McCain had been elected President in 2008, or not?

It would be in better shape: 38
It would not: 51
Not sure: 11

Among independents, just 35 percent think McCain would've made things better, compared to the 50 percent who don't.

So here's the bottom line: The poll gives Obama a 50-46 lead among all likely voters. He wins independents 44-43. The numbers above make clear that half of those independents are deaf to Romney's economic arguments. Absent some major catastrophic event, they're not moving away from Obama.

Perhaps that's why the Romney campaign appears to be moving away from a persuasion campaign to one of base mobilization. If he can't win independents, maybe he can cancel them out with more conservative voters.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 04:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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