Gaffes don't typically have much effect, but Mitt Romney's secretly recorded remarks may have staying power. His polls started falling soon after his words went public – and continue to drop.
It’s been 10 days since Mitt Romney’s now-famous “47 percent” comments became public. Since then countless news stories have chewed over Mr. Romney’s secretly recorded assertion that 47 percent of US voters see themselves as “victims” and are too dependent on government to vote Republican. Are Romney’s words – plus the subsequent media focus – now dragging down his campaign?
Frankly, we’ve been skeptical the “47 percent” stuff would have a measurable effect on the polls. Individual events seldom do, no matter what the cable news chattering clique says. When asked directly, many voters may disapprove of such sentiments, but would that really make them more or less likely to vote Romney? Isn’t it more probable it would just reinforce what they already felt, one way or another?
Yeah, well, we’re reconsidering that now, for two reasons. The first is that Romney’s polls worsened fairly quickly after the comments came out. Take Gallup’s daily tracking poll, which has been a bit more pro-Romney than other national surveys. It’s a seven-day, rolling average of numbers. On Sept. 22, the day its sample consisted of people all contacted after Romney’s words became public, it went from a 46 to 46 percent tied race to a 2 point Obama advantage. Since then it has continued to widen. Yesterday Obama was up by 6, 50 to 44 percent.