President Obama and his team thought they could deliver a headshot to Romney with the grossly inaccurate Bain ad that detailed how they closed GST Steel. Well, Romney left Bain in 1999 and GST Steel folded in 2001. Not to mention, Bain’s managing director, Jonathan Lavine, was still at Bain when GST closed its doors. Mr. Lavine also happens to be an Obama bundler raising between $100-200,000 for the president’s re-elect campaign. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post.
However,the president continues to push this anti-Bain narrative, which isn’t sticking and killing his chances at winning the affluent vote. Yes, bashing the rich may seem like the “cool” and “liberal” thing to do, but, as Michael Barone aptly pointed out, the last class warfare president that won was Harry Truman in 1948. The same could be said about Obama’s populist vein. The last populist president elected was Andrew Jackson. History seems to be against him.
Today there are a lot more affluent people. The 2008 exit poll told us that 26 percent of voters had household incomes over $100,000. Half of them voted for Obama. He needs those votes again. My hunch is that Obama’s attacks on Bain will strike most affluent voters as offputting and that Romney’s calm responses will strike them as reassuring. If you want more jobs created, you don’t go around attacking job creators. Most affluent voters believe that free markets, appropriately regulated, tend to produce fair outcomes. They see investors not as vultures but as creators of jobs and promoters of innovation that increase national productivity and make everyone better off. They see class warfare as attacks on themselves.
Furthermore, Barone cites areas where the president is probably already doomed. Especially, in states he needs to win this November to continue his agenda of dependency and big government policies. Policies that have not reduced the high unemployment rate, gave us consecutive trillion dollar deficits, and added another $5 trillion dollars to the national debt. The rich, and Americans in general, see Obama as ineffectual and totally antithetical to the values he promised to bring to Washington. This is starting to have an effect no matter how much Obama tries to pivot on the matter. Barone continues by listing how the president is losing his grip on this demographic that he needs to win again to ensure re-election.
Here’s evidence that Obama has already lost many affluent voters. The popular vote in House elections is a good proxy for presidential and party support, and voters with incomes over $100,000, evenly split in 2008, voted 58 to 40 percent for Republicans in 2010.
Northern Virginia, which Obama carried 59 to 40 percent and which provided 95 percent of his statewide popular vote margin, went 52 to 47 percent for House Republicans in 2010. Nine suburban Denver counties voted 53 to 46 percent for Obama but switched in 2010 to 54 to 42 percent Republican.
Virginia and Colorado are on everyone’s target state list. But Obama also hurt the Democratic brand among affluent voters in other states.
The four suburban counties outside Philadelphia voted 57 to 42 percent for Obama but 52 to 47 percent Republican in 2010. The six suburban counties outside Detroit voted 54 to 45 percent for Obama but 53 to 44 percent Republican in 2010. That means Pennsylvania and Michigan could be in play.
Affluent suburbs outside the South trended heavily toward Democrats in from 1992 to 2008. Now they seem to be trending Republican.
All we need is Romney, who finally clinched the nomination in last night’s Texas primary, to stay focused and hammer the president on the economy, the debt, deficit, high unemployment, and the rest of his dismal record. However, expect this 2012 election to be the dirtiest since 1824.