Does the Romney “47% Clip” Matter?

 

Talk about shiny objects . . . Jonathan Horn and Kristol I think have a pretty good take on this whole affair.

But will Romney’s statement matter, and how much? 

Now, this question is probably impossible to answer completely. Even if it does impact the race, the effect would likely be so small compared to other factors that we’d be hard-pressed to find evidence of it amidst all the sound and fury of world and domestic affairs. 

There is one way, however, to determine objectively and precisely how bad the clip is for Romney when people are exposed to it; we can run a message experiment, or a PocketTrial as we call them at ES.

It’s like running a controlled, clinical drug trial, but we’re testing the impact of the clip on the vote and favorability instead of a drug’s impact on, say, blood pressure.

Using this double-blind and fully controlled experimental design, we can quantify the true impact of the clip on a voter at the time of exposure. And since we collect demographic and political information at the same time, we can determine whether the clip is impacting particular voters more than others, or impacting them in different ways.

We found just such differences in a recent test of pro and anti-Romney ads in the wake of the Ryan pick. Surprisingly, we found that the ads impacted men much more (in both directions) than women. Men seemed to be most in play for the campaigns.

So, what do you think . . . Do you think being exposed to the Romney “47% Clip” will move swing voters significantly? Will men, women, rich, or poor respond differently?

And do you think we should we test the clip, or is it too much of a flash in the pan? Should we test something else, like Romney’s new ads?

Let me know what you think would be most interesting . . . .

There are 20 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

    Will their ads say Romney does not care about 47% at all, probably.  Run that negative half statement in the Pocket Trial and see how utterly stupid America is.  I expect 1/2 of us qualify.

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    @Strategoist

    Hmm…I think you should test the Mother Jones clips because they do alter the discourse.  Going forward, the campaigns will be somwhat predicated on the aftermath of “47%.”

    So many people are testing ads already.  It would be great to have some intelligence on the impact the”47%” statements have on different segments.  I’d like to know how seniors are reacting to them.  I’d like to know how many people think that Romney’s 47% describes them or “someone else.”  I’d like to see “makers vs takers” perceptions grown from Romney’s comments.

    There are those who want to get off assistance by getting a job: do they see Obama as enabling their parasitic state?  Do Romney’s statements encourage or discourage them?  Etc.

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    @MelFoil

    It will only matter if he chickens out and tries to walk it back.

    • #3
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    @TommyDeSeno

    It won’t matter for the reason Mitt stated:  Those 47% weren’t voting for him anyway.  

    Since he identified them as freeloaders (kind of) no one is going to rush to self identify with allegedly injured here either.

    • #4
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    @Eeyore

    Possibly more informative will be the response to Romney’s own response to criticism of the 47% clip.  His messaging has been pretty marble-mouthed. If he hits back Gingrich style at Obama as the part of the reason the 47% is true, he could come out with a net plus.

    • #5
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    @AdamSchaeffer

    Strategoist, the point about many on assistance not wanting to be on it I think is a really important point, and one of the worst things about how the clip sounds. There are a whole lot of folks angry at the govt for the fact that they need to take a handout, and this makes it sound like they are all shiftless layabouts peeping for more govt scraps. He should be siding with that feeling, that the govt has trapped a lot of people in dependency with it’s size and scope, not dismissing it . . .

    • #6
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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor: Strategoist, the point about many on assistance not wanting to be on it I think is a really important point, and one of the worst things about how the clip sounds. There are a whole lot of folks angry at the govt for the fact that they need to take a handout, and this makes it sound like they are all shiftless layabouts peeping for more govt scraps. He should be siding with that feeling, that the govt has trapped a lot of people in dependency with it’s size and scope, not dismissing it . . . · 1 hour ago

    I don’t think so, because those people — and I have been one — aren’t necessarily thinking of themselves as “victims. I know I didn’t consider myself a “victim” when I was getting unemployment benefits.

    People are generally smart enough to know those who are just using the safety net on a temporary basis as opposed to those who have made it into a hammock.

    • #7
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    @Strategoist
    ConservativeWanderer

    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor: Strategoist, the point about many on assistance not wanting to be on it I think is a really important point, and one of the worst things about how the clip sounds. There are a whole lot of folks angry at the govt for the fact that they need to take a handout, and this makes it sound like they are all shiftless layabouts peeping for more govt scraps. He should be siding with that feeling, that the govt has trapped a lot of people in dependency with it’s size and scope, not dismissing it . . . · 1 hour ago

    I don’t think so, because those people — and I have been one — aren’t necessarily thinking of themselves as “victims. I know I didn’t consider myself a “victim” when I was getting unemployment benefits. 39 minutes ago

    Adam,

    I lean in ‘Wanderer’s direction here, but you identify the danger zone of the comment.  That area of the discourse is decided on whether the “resistant assisted” identify as members of Romney’s 47%.  Is that something you’d be able to reveal in your PocketTrials, et al?

    • #8
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    @M1919A4

    Never complain, never explain, and remember to say “Sir”.  

    Romney needs to plow ahead, say what he means to say, and not deign to debate the news mafia on the point.  He has a case to make and they will try anything to keep him from making it.

    • #9
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    @Wolverine

    I wonder how important this is mainly because I think many of those 47% don’t think Romney is referring to them. I also think best way for Romney to handle this, as alluded to, it to blame governmental policies for destroying the economy and thus giving people no choice but to depend on the government.

    Ditto for comments regarding cheap shot of Kristol towards Romney in his post.

    • #10
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    @CharlesAllen

    Adam, you mention the Kristol piece as a good take, and while I don’t necesarily disagree with it, I do think he sums up with an unfair charge against Romney.

    “Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country…”

    Really?  Romney has done little for his country?  Leave out his Olympic accomplishments, and his resume is still most impressive.

    If Romney has done little for his country by creating jobs and capital and running a state fairly successfully, then what have the rest of us, including Bill Kristol, done by the same standard?

    • #11
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    @DocJay
    Charles Allen: Adam, you mention the Kristol piece as a good take, and while I don’t necesarily disagree with it, I do think he sums up with an unfair charge against Romney.

    “Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country…”

    Really?  Romney has done little for his country?  Leave out his Olympic accomplishments, and his resume is still most impressive.

    If Romney has done little for his country by creating jobs and capital and running a state fairly successfully, then what have the rest of us, including Bill Kristol, done by the same standard? · 0 minutes ago

    Well put on all counts.

    • #12
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    @Dudley

    I think it will move independents toward him. There is a lot of resentment in the producer class against the consumer class and this taps into that.  He may have mixed his groups but the message is clear: goverment is too big and too many are layabouts and moochers.

    Also it doesn’t hurt that he outed himself as a conservative.   That should put to rest, somewhat, the assertion his conservative bona fides are not legitmate.

    • #13
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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Charles Allen: Adam, you mention the Kristol piece as a good take, and while I don’t necesarily disagree with it, I do think he sums up with an unfair charge against Romney.

    “Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country…”

    Really?  Romney has done little for his country?  Leave out his Olympic accomplishments, and his resume is still most impressive.

    If Romney has done little for his country by creating jobs and capital and running a state fairly successfully, then what have the rest of us, including Bill Kristol, done by the same standard? · 1 hour ago

    Hear, hear!

    It should be noted that Kristol seems to harbor some deep antipathy towards Romney (for what reason, I do not know). He even joined the Obama call for Romney’s tax returns.

    When it comes to anything Romney, I am going to trust Kristol about as much as I trust David Axelrod.

    • #14
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    @AdamSchaeffer

    Charles, CW . . . I agree, that line pulled me up when I read it. In fact, watching the convention made me feel like an inadequate human being and quite happy that we had such an accomplished and charitable individual running for President, regardless of how I felt about his politics (such things as RomneyCare made/make me extremely uncomfortable). What have all the recent candidates done that come even close to deserving such a position? Bush, Kerry, Clinton, the One? It seems to me that Romney has given a tremendous amount to his country and individuals through his very successful business, his work as a religious leader in his community, and his personal charitable activities. I think the bulk of Kristol’s post was right on, but that charge was completely unwarranted.

    • #15
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    @DespairTroll

    This video is not going to move the needle.  Most of what he said is exactly what everyone thinks.  The only problem was the ham handedness of how he said it, which is not unusual in a Q&A like that.  All the hoopla that is going on with it is simply going to show what people are going to vote.  No minds are going to change over it.

    If I were advising him, I’d say exactly what O’Reilly said this evening.  Take it with a slight pivot and run it right through Obama with a subtext for rejecting the entitlement state.

    I don’t know if anyone else thinks this, but he seems more convincing when speaking to small, closed groups than he does when addressing the whole country.  He seems to be less of a tool in these videos.

    • #16
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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor: Charles, CW . . . I agree, that line pulled me up when I read it. In fact, watching the convention made me feel like an inadequate human being and quite happy that we had such an accomplished and charitable individual running for President, regardless of how I felt about his politics (such things as RomneyCare made/make me extremely uncomfortable). What have all the recent candidates done that come even close to deserving such a position? Bush, Kerry, Clinton, the One? It seems to me that Romney has given a tremendous amount to his country and individuals through his very successful business, his work as a religious leader in his community, and his personal charitable activities. I think the bulk of Kristol’s post was right on, but that charge was completely unwarranted. · 3 minutes ago

    Actually, given Kristol’s earlier attacks on Romney, I doubt the rest of the post was right on.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, it could have been phrased better, but I think that his core concept was sound… we have far too many using the safety net as a hammock.

    • #17
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    @AdamSchaeffer

    Strategoist, et al on the point; who identifies as part of the 47%? I agree that’s a really important question, and it’s likely far fewer than are in that category. We definitely can get at that self-identification in a PocketTrial, and see if the clip (or other “treatments,”) affect how people view themselves. 

    That would be an extremely interesting question . . . I could see a clip like this, which puts it in moral/ideological terms, actually decreasing self-perceived dependency on the govt.

    • #18
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    @ConservativeWanderer
    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor: Strategoist, et al on the point; who identifies as part of the 47%? I agree that’s a really important question, and it’s likely far fewer than are in that category. We definitely can get at that self-identification in a PocketTrial, and see if the clip (or other “treatments,”) affect how people view themselves. 

    That would be an extremely interesting question . . . I could see a clip like this, which puts it in moral/ideological terms, actually decreasing self-perceived dependency on the govt. · 7 minutes ago

    Now that, Mr. Schaeffer, I’d be really interested in seeing.

    Personally, I think even a lot of those who are in the 47% don’t think of themselves that way… it would be too damaging to their ego.

    • #19
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    @
    Adam Schaeffer, Guest Contributor:  He should be siding with that feeling, that the govt has trapped a lot of people in dependency with it’s size and scope, not dismissing it . . . · 17 minutes ago

    Lord, I hope you have an “in” to the Romney camp.  THat’s EXACTLY how I would go for it.  Maybe start with Ryan?

    • #20

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