PRINCETON, NJ — Americans have a more negative than positive immediate reaction to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s comments, secretly caught on video, about the 47% of Americans whom he said are Obama supporters and dependent on the government. Thirty-six percent of voters say Romney’s comments make them less likely to vote for him, while 20% say the remarks make them more likely to vote for him, and 43% say the comments won’t make a difference.
These results are from a one-night USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Sept. 18 among 885 registered voters. Respondents were read a direct quotation from Romney’s comments (exact wording in the graph above) and asked to give their reaction.
A substantial majority of Americans have already made up their minds about their vote choice, so it is likely that many of those who claim to be “more likely” or “less likely” to vote for Romney are, in essence, indicating that the comments reinforced their pre-existing vote choice. This may be particularly true of Democrats, who have the strongest immediate reactions, with more than two-thirds saying the comments make them less likely to vote for Romney. Given that Gallup Daily tracking data show that only 5% of Democrats are voting for Romney anyway, it is unlikely that these sentiments from Democrats will significantly change the course of the election.
Similarly, since 92% of Republicans are voting for Romney, it is unlikely that the 44% of Republicans who say the comments make them more likely to vote for Romney will affect the race.
But independents — voters who are, by definition, less fixed in their partisanship — tilt toward the “less likely” over the “more likely” view by a 29% to 15% margin — although more than half say Romney’s comments make no difference.
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