While the vast majority of Americans claim they already know enough about Mitt Romney and President Obama, the country is interested in learning more about Romney’s tax returns. According to a new Pew Research survey, next to his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, voters are most curious about Romney’s tax returns. From Pew:
With more than three months to go before Election Day, most voters already feel that there’s little left to learn about the presidential candidates. When it comes to Barack Obama, 90% say they already pretty much know what they need to know about him; just 8% say they need to learn more. A substantial majority (69%) also says they already mostly know what they need to know about Mitt Romney. Only about a quarter (28%) say they need to learn more to get a clear impression of Romney. Combining these two questions, fully two-thirds of voters say they already know as much as they need to about both presidential candidates.
When it comes to specific details of Romney’s background and experience, 41% of voters say they would like to learn more about Romney’s record as governor, 36% would like to learn more about his tax returns, while 35% want to know more about his record as chief executive of Bain Capital. Far fewer want to hear more about Romney’s wealth (21%), his family and upbringing (19%) or his religious beliefs (16%).
This shows the issue of Romney refusing to release more than one year of tax returns has managed to penetrate beyond the beltway conversation. It appears the narrative that Romney is actually hiding something has managed to get sufficient traction and made people curious.
It’s rather remarkable how many people claim to care about the returns. Tax returns are after all inherently rather boring, and I doubt if Romney had initially released several years if almost anyone would have bothered to find out what was in them. By not releasing them, Romney has effectively allowed a story to be created.
Romney’s plan of ignoring the issue in the hope that it would go away has failed. Going forward, it will be interesting to see if Romney submits to pressure to release more returns or if he simply lets the impression he is hiding something continue, which would reinforce the suspicion that he actually is hiding something.