PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney's remarks that nearly half of Americans see themselves as victims entitled to government help has hurt him with registered voters, a poll indicates.
USA Today/Gallup pollsters read the statement made by Romney at a private fundraiser in May and secretly caught on videotape that 47 percent of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes "are dependent on government, who believe they are victims and who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them" to 885 registered voters Tuesday.
Thirty-six percent of those polled said Romney's comments made them less likely to vote for him, while 20 percent said the remarks made them more likely to vote for him and 43 percent said they made no difference.
However in releasing their poll results Wednesday, Gallup officials pointed out a substantial majority of U.S. adults have already made up their minds on the presidential race so it is likely that many of those who claim to be more likely or less likely to vote for Romney were, in essence, indicating the comments reinforced their pre-existing vote choice.
Democrats had the strongest immediate reaction to the comments -- two-thirds said the comments made them less likely to vote for Romney, but since the Gallup Daily tracking poll showed only 5 percent of Democrats voting for Romney, it seemed unlikely Romney's comments would significantly change the course of the election, Gallup said.
It also seemed unlikely the 92 percent of Republicans who said they were voting for Romney and the 44 percent of Republicans who said the comments make them more likely to vote for Romney would affect the race.
However, 29 percent of independents said they were less likely to vote for Romney due to the comments, 15 percent said they were more likely to vote for Romney and more than 50 percent said the comments made no difference.
The landline/cellphone survey has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.