More Than Half of Voters Disagree with “Bitter” Remark

Posted April 14, 2008 at 8:24am

Fifty-six percent of Americans disagree with the now (in)famous “bitter” remark made by Barack Obama at a closed-door fundraiser in San Francisco more than a week ago, according to a Rasmussen Report poll conducted April 12-13. The Huffington Post revealed Friday that Obama had said at the gathering that it was not unsurprising that the reaction to job losses and broken political promises among many Pennsylvanians was that they “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” The remark has been pounced upon by Hillary Clinton as evidence of Obama’s elitism, and by Republicans as well.

In the survey, only 25 percent agreed with Obama while 19 percent said they were unsure. Among liberal voters, 46 percent agreed while 33 percent did not. Moderates disagreed 51 percent to 27 percent and 74 percent of conservatives turned thumbs down. Along party lines, 34 percent of Democrats agreed with Obama against 43 percent who disagreed, while Republicans “overwhelmingly” disagreed and unaffiliated voters rejected the remarks by a 2-to-1 margin.

Forty-five percent of voters labeled the remarks as elitist. But 56 percent agreed with what Obama said as he tried to contain any further fall-out, that “People are fed up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter, and they want to see a change in Washington.”

Hear Obama and Clinton talk about the controversy during last night’s CNN Compassion Forum. A Gallup poll yesterday suggested that a first survey indicated that the remark had not hurt Obama, but let’s see later what today’s daily tracking poll says. CQ Politics blogger Richard Whalen also has something to say about the subject in his post today. And the Philadelphia Inquirer has a piece today assessing reaction in Pennsylvania to the remark.