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Political Insiders Poll

Is attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital an effective tactic for Democrats?


Highly effective: 54%
Somewhat effective: 39%
Not effective: 7%


Highly effective

“Romney’s experience profiting off others’ misery at Bain is the epitome of the difference in philosophy among the two major parties. Nobody can relate to how he made all that money.”


“Critical to paint the picture of Romney now, while the public doesn’t know him.”

“If Mitt wants to run as a ‘job creator,’ he has to be willing to face voters and explain past actions to the contrary from a company he ran.”

“It goes after what is supposed to be Romney’s greatest strength—economic experience—just like George W. Bush did to John Kerry on his military record. And it is such an easy target!”

“Bain is every average American’s worst fear: rich guys carving up their lives for fun and profit.”


“No one knows what Bain is or does, but it’s a symbol of deep-pocketed forces that have reaped huge profits for a few by sending millions of jobs overseas and screwing as many working Americans out of livelihoods.”

“Economy for everyone versus economy for elites? It’s a no ‘Bainer’!”

Somewhat effective

“If Romney handles it well, by questioning Obama’s authority to talk about what works in the economy, this will be a fruitless line of attack.”

“Would be better if Cory Booker would put a lid on it!”

“There’s a price to pay for demonizing Bain. A different price to pay for demonizing private equity. But lots of benefit for demonizing Romney.”

“This isn’t about whether Bain or private equity is good or bad. It’s that Romney says his experience there will make him good at creating jobs as president, and that just ain’t so.”

Not effective

“Doesn’t matter how much you try to explain it, to the average American it looks like an attack on business during a tough economic time.”



Is attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital an effective tactic for Democrats?


Highly effective: 6%
Somewhat effective: 44%
Not effective: 50%

Highly effective

“Reinforcing Romney’s association with the financial industry and the elitism associated with that is a winner for President Obama.”

Somewhat effective

“Only to the extent it builds on an unattractive, out-of-touch personal narrative about Romney.”

“It is a good counterpunch to Romney’s economic experience message, but, in the end, it is another permutation of a stale class-warfare argument that the Democrats have been running on for decades but have never delivered on.”

“Anything that gets the media to focus on something other than President Obama’s disastrous economic record is somewhat effective.”

“It is a politically potent message, but Obama runs the risk of owning the ‘antibusiness’ label in the process and doing himself more damage in the process.”

Not effective

“As if there is an American voter left who doesn’t expect Democrats to attack Republican candidates who have had any level of success in the private sector. These tired old tactics bounce off voters like bad checks.”

“President Obama’s challenge is to show how he will address high unemployment and a struggling economy. Defining Romney doesn’t deal with that challenge.”

“When your own teammates are telling you to knock it off, it’s a signal you’re on the wrong track.”

“How can Obama credibly attack Romney for being the same kind of guy he is begging for campaign cash from? The answer revealed this week: He can’t.”

“Bain may have closed companies and fired workers two decades ago under Romney, but Obama did so in real time, to GM workers and auto dealers.”

“Obama does not know what a job is, and it shows.”



Will entitlement-program politics—Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare—favor Republicans or Democrats more this year?


Help Democrats: 85%
Neutral: 15%
Help Republicans: 1%

Help Democrats

“Have you read the [Rep. Paul] Ryan budget?”

“Republicans can’t resist taking on Social Security and Medicare, no matter how many times they get burned.”

“The laws of politics have not changed, and seniors still vote.”

“The Republican are in their suicidal crouch—advocating tax cuts for the wealthy paid for by cuts to Medicare. They’ve never been able to win this argument.”

This article appears in the May 26, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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