Priorities USA, a Democratic Super PAC dedicated to re-election President Obama, is out with a new strategy memo detailing what they think is Mitt Romney’s biggest vulnerability: voters just don’t like him.
The memo notes that Romney’s personal favorability has gone down across the board in state polls despite a campaign that’s been considered relatively smooth by observers.
“He’s faced no new scandals, no recent damaging gaffes, no problems raising money, no problems with his campaign operation, no difficult political environment, and no unsafe policy proposals,” the memo reads. “Looks like the cause of Mitt Romney’s drop in popularity is… Mitt Romney himself.”
Priorities USA identifies Romney’s “flip flop” problem as the key to his woes, noting that even in New Hampshire, where he’s held leads against the GOP field all year, some 43% of Republican voters say he “will do or say anything to win.”
The implication is clear for Democrats: keep hitting him on the issue and don’t let up.
The full memo below:
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Priorities USA Action
RE: Priorities Points: Behind Mitt Romney’s Unpopularity? Mitt Romney.
After non-stop travel, millions of dollars spent, and rave reviews from the Washington elite, Mitt Romney has actually managed to become substantially less popular. In all 15 states polled twice by Public Policy Polling, Romney is less popular than he was earlier this year. Those numbers should defy logic: By conventional political metrics, the sixth year of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been virtually flawless.
He’s faced no new scandals, no recent damaging gaffes, no problems raising money, no problems with his campaign operation, no difficult political environment, and no unsafe policy proposals.
Looks like the cause of Mitt Romney’s drop in popularity is… Mitt Romney himself.
48% of likely Iowa Caucus participants and 43% of likely New Hampshire primary voters believe Romney “will do or say anything to win.” Nearly half of the Republican base, the group that knows Romney best, believe he “will do or say anything to win.”
There are several moments in the last few months where Romney’s vulnerabilities have been particularly apparent to voters:
· Disingenuous Immigration Attacks: His attacks on Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry from the right on immigration, deficits, and Social Security may have done permanentdamage to Perry but seem disingenuous coming from a politician who has been on all sides of those issues. As Newt Gingrich said this week, “If you run to the left of Teddy Kennedy, it is a little tricky, then, to try to run to the right of Newt Gingrich.”
· Debt Ceiling Dance: During the debt ceiling debate, as both sides forcefully advocated for their position, Romney was nowhere to be found. It was an obvious political calculation that only reinforced the view that even when the full faith and credit of the US is at stake, Romney is off somewhere else thinking about his political future.
· Waffle in Ohio: While campaigning in Ohio, Romney pointedly refused to endorse an unpopular but signature Republican effort to rollback collective bargaining rights, potentially avoiding a damaging general election issue. But, within a day, facing nationwide political pressure from conservatives, Romney reversed himself and endorsed the measure.
Romney’s Popularity Declined in All 15 States Polled Twice, Often Substantially. In the 15 states where Public Policy Polling has polled twice, Romney’s popularity has declined in all 21 including declines of 28 points in Florida, 20 points inPennsylvania, 18 in Arizona, 17 in Ohio and 16 in Iowa. [Public Policy Polling, 10/30/11, 10/29/11]
Romney’s “Positive Intensity” Score by Gallup Lowest He’s Ever Seen After Steady Decline Since April. Gingrich decline in Gallup’s “Positive Intensity” score to 11 is his lowest since Gallup began publicizing the measure. In April, Romney’s score was 20 and has declined steadily since to 15 last month and 11 today. Romney trails both Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain. [Gallup, 11/22/11]
Nearly Half of Likely GOP Voters in Iowa and New Hampshire Believe Romney “Will Do or Say Anything To Win.” According to a Bloomberg Poll conducted by Selzer & Company, 48% of likely Iowa Caucus goers and 43% of likely New Hampshire primary voters say Romney “will do or say anything to win.” [Bloomberg, 11/17/11]
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.