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Romney's "Job Creators" Voted for Obama in 2008

September 23, 2012

When Mitt Romney slandered the veterans, working families, college students, senior citizens and the rest of the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax, he didn't just inadvertently smear millions of reliably Republican voters in addition to the Democrats he meant to insult. As it turns out, a majority of upper-income "job creators" Romney and his GOP allies so lavishly praise happened to have voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
For years, Republicans have warned that Barack Obama's proposal to let the Bush tax cuts expire for individuals earning over $200,000 a year ($250,000 a year for families) would "punish job creators". Mitt Romney has been regurgitating that sound bite for months, arguing that what Obama is proposing constitutes "a massive tax increase on job creators and on small business."
As it turns out, there are a few problems with that tried but untrue Republican talking point. First, as the data clearly show, the U.S. economy grew much faster and produced far more jobs when taxes were higher--even much higher--on the wealthiest Americans. Second and just as damning, Romney's job creators voted for Barack Obama four years ago. As the 2008 exit poll data show (see table above), the six percent of voters with family incomes over $200,000 chose Barack Obama over John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. (In 2004, President George W. Bush mauled Democrat John Kerry among the same group by 63 percent to 35 percent.)
Recent Gallup polling suggests Mitt Romney has retaken the lead among the top earners (greater than $180,000) surveyed by the organization. But just as before the 2008 elections, surveys consistently reveal that Americans believe the richest among them are not paying their fair share. Interestingly, as an August analysis by the Pew Research Center discovered, the wealthy themselves share that view:

Nearly six-in-ten survey respondents (58%) also say the rich pay too little in taxes, while 26% say they pay their fair share, and just 8% say they pay too much. Even among those who describe themselves as upper or upper-middle class, 52% say upper-income Americans don't pay enough in taxes.

And for all his paeans to entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creators, Romney now trails President Obama among small business owners.
No doubt, the 2008 results and 2012 polls must come as a shock to Mitt Romney. After all, it is supposed to be Mitt's 47 percent who are "dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims" who are not as attracted to his "message of lowering taxes." With Americans possessing post-graduate degrees overwhelmingly supporting Barack Obama, Rick Santorum could be right that "we will never people on our side." More likely, as the New York Times, Politico and the Wall Street Journal among others pondered four years ago, more affluent voters could have decided that the national interest trumps their own. Or it could just be that many of Mitt Romney's job creators have looked at the historical record and concluded as Harry Truman did over 60 years ago:

"If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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