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Romney’s ’47 percent’ video: Elon community divided on its impact

September 19, 2012

Published video of Romney speaking at private fundraiser attracts media attention. Photo by Melissa Kansky.

The majority of the Elon community said the release of a secret video featuring Mitt Romney will most likely hurt the Republican candidate during the election, according to a non-scientific poll conducted by Elon University professor Janna Anderson’s Reporting for the Public Good class. Students polled individuals in the university and surrounding area.

The video clip published in Mother Jones shows Romney telling people at a private fundraiser May 17 that he figures President Barack Obama has 47 percent of the vote already locked up because of people who “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”

Of the 117 people polled midday Wednesday, 75 individuals said they believed the published video will damage Romney’s campaign, while 20 were undecided or said the video will not alter public opinion and 22 said it will help Romney during the election. Of those polled, 61 individuals indicated they have read about or seen the video.

A poll question asked if individuals had read about or seen the video in which Romney says Barack Obama already has 47 percent of the vote locked up because of people who “believe the government has the responsibility to take care of them.”

One poll question asked if individuals believed the video will hurt or help Romney during the election.

The published comment was captured on a hidden camera at a private fundraiser, but the Democratic campaign has referenced the video as evidence of Romney dismissing nearly half of the nation’s population.

Although Elon senior Connor Mercurio questioned the accurate portrayal of Romney in the video, sophomore Steven Shields said the media attention alone could be harmful.

“I haven’t read a whole lot about it, but he’s getting a lot of negative publicity about it and that just shows that for even people like me who just kind of skimmed over it, it’s hurting him,” Shields said.

In the video Romney is addressing a Republican audience at a private home in Boca Raton, Fla., but the published comment contributes to the portrayal of Romney as an ineffective diplomat, according to sophomore Emmy York.

“I will hurt him Mitt Romney because he doesn’t say the right things at the right time, and it wasn’t the best thing to say,” York said.

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