Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign takes issue with a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday that shows him trailing President Barack Obama, The Hill
The tally was 52 percent to 43 percent in favor of Obama among all Americans and 51 percent to 45 percent among registered voters. The poll also showed that independent voters are split about equally, with 48 percent backing Obama and 47 percent choosing Romney. The former Massachusetts governor held a 12 percentage point advantage among independents in mid-January.
The survey is “seriously flawed,” according to a statement from Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. The poll introduced “specific negative information about Gov. Romney immediately prior to asking the ballot matchup against President Obama,” she said.
“Immediately prior to the president ballot test, this poll introduced information regarding Romney’s background and suggested 'he cut jobs, he benefited from opportunities that are not available to other people, he is not paying his fair share of taxes,' and that his Mormon religion might be a factor not to support him.”
So the poll is “pretty clearly tainted . . . resulting in what some would call a 'pushed' ballot,’” Gitcho said. “A pollster can’t ask or suggest specific negatives on a candidate immediately prior to a ballot test and expect to get anything other than a biased result.”
She acknowledged that compiling a poll isn’t simple. “But this is one of those times when a mistake was made and should not be repeated in the future.”
ABC polling director Gary Lang dismissed Gitcho’s complaints, writing in a statement: “It’s hardly the newest game in town for aggrieved parties to try to dismiss survey results they don’t like.”
“The poll we’ve released today included balanced questions on recent issues involving Mitt Romney’s wealth, taxpaying and business background,” Lang said. “Each was neutrally presented — asking, for instance whether he 'is or is not paying his fair share of taxes,' whether he ‘achieved the American dream' or 'benefitted from opportunities that are not available to other people,' and whether he did more to 'create jobs' or to 'cut jobs' at Bain Capital.”
Lang noted that poll respondents gave a positive appraisal of Romney for his business experience. The questions were posed in a neutral matter, and the issues involved “salient attributes on which public attitudes matter,” he said.
Lang also pointed out that the results of the Washington Post/ABC poll matched those of other surveys.
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