The Purple pollsters say the Bain issue resonates powerfully with independents, who sided with "care only about profits" 48 percent to 38 percent. It also works with women, who chose "care only about profits" 47 percent to 33 percent.
"Across the purple states, this argument has the hallmarks of a classic wedge issue for the president," writes the Purple team. "It consolidates Democrats and has a plurality of support among independents."
But what about all the criticism of Obama's Bain attacks, particularly from Democrats? Talk to some Democratic strategists (not associated with the Obama campaign) and they suggest the criticism is mainly confined to the Washington-New York corridor, where Democratic politicians and former politicians depend on friends in private equity to fund their global initiatives, their business ventures and their future campaigns. There's nothing in it for them to bash Bain.
Since those Democrats are also in the center of the media world, their criticism of Obama for hitting Romney on Bain received a huge amount of attention. But the average independent voter in Ohio doesn't live in a private equity world, and the Purple Poll suggests his or her reaction to the Bain issue is quite different.
At the moment, there's no reason to believe the Obama campaign has abandoned plans to hit Romney on Bain in the future. In a conversation in his Chicago office last month, top Obama strategist David Axelrod seemed convinced Bain is an important part of the campaign.
The idea of investments that pay off even if a company fails, Axelrod said, "bothers a lot of people around the country." And the values that make a private equity businessman successful are "not the values that drive the economy."
Axelrod, who declined to reveal the campaign's plans, didn't sound like a man who has abandoned Bain as a future campaign issue. And now the Purple Poll provides new ammunition for those Democrats who want to give it another shot. Perhaps not this week or next, but certainly in the fall, Bain will be back.
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