[bumped - Barbara Morrill]
Q: If the candidates for President this fall were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who would you vote for?What's interesting about Obama's performance this week is that Romney's favorability rating actually clocked in at the best score we've ever seen in our weekly polling, with 46% of respondents viewing him favorably to 48% negatively. That's not much worse than Obama's own 50-47 mark, yet the POTUS's lead in the head-to-heads remains firm.
Barack Obama: 50 (50)
Mitt Romney: 45 (46)
Undecided: 5 (4)
As for our topical questions, well, you won't be surprised that no one agrees with Mitt Romney when he said this:
"No one can say my plan is going to raise taxes on middle-income people, because principle number one is (to) keep the burden down on middle-income taxpayers," Romney told host George Stephanopoulos.Survey says:
"Is $100,000 middle income?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"No, middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less," Romney responded.
Q: What amount of annual income for a family would you define as middle-income: $50-100,000 a year, $100-150,000 a year, $150-200,000 a year, $200-250,000 a year, or $250-300,000 a year?However, many more people agree with him on another topic:
Not sure: 2
Q: Do you agree or disagree with Mitt Romney that 47% of Americans are dependent on government and believe that they are victims?I suspect we'd have gotten a different (and more hostile) set of responses if we'd left Romney's name out of this, as doing so provides a partisan "cue": Democrats know to say they disagree and Republicans know to say they agree, just based on who the speaker is. You can check out the crosstabs to see how evenly this question divides based on party ID. But it tilts against Romney nevertheless because independents are turned off by his remarks, 53-37.
Not sure: 7
Q: Did you pay any federal income taxes last year, or not?As for the "meat" of Romney's charge, most voters must be wondering who that 47% is. I'll bet a lot of people answered this question in the affirmative because even if you aren't subject to the income tax, federal payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare sure as hell feel like taxes on your income. And I'm sure some other folks might have been worried whether we were asking if they were delinquent on their taxes, or whether they'd simply filed a return at all, and wanted to make sure they said "yes." But regardless of the reasons, Romney's conception of this "47%" doesn't seem to have a lot of resonance.
Paid income taxes: 87
Did not: 11
Not sure: 2
P.S. As always, you can access our complete polling archive via our Weekly Trends page.