Most Americans Have Never Heard of Bain Capital

Despite Obama’s negative ads, Americans don’t know Bain Capital

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The American Enterprise Institute just put out its June political report, which compiles the major polls from the previous month.

Taken together, the polls seem to present a rosier outlook for President Obama than previously thought.

[See: Today's political cartoons.]

Despite the recent dismal jobs report, for example, 36 percent of people say they think the economy is getting better (CBS/New York Times). More Americans think Obama would handle unemployment better than Romney. (ABC/Washington Post) And a plurality of 47 percent now think Obama's approach has made things better for the auto industry. (NBC/Wall Street Journal)

But then there's Bain Capital.

Bain Capital—Romney's old private equity firm—has become a target of the Obama campaign, which has gone to great lengths to show it was job-killing and predatory.

In one of Obama's negative ads, a steelworker says that after Bain took over, his steel plant closed, leaving misery in its wake.

"It was like watching an old friend bleed to death," he tells the camera.

The media has also spent a lot of time debating how much Bain will matter in the general election.

But will it matter at all?

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last month found that 9 percent felt positively toward Bain, 19 percent negatively, and 19 percent were neutral. That left more than 50 percent of people who either had no idea who Bain was, or weren't sure, according to the report.

The Obama campaign "has thrown most of its kitchen sink at Mitt Romney... the vampires of Bain Capital. ... It's not sticking," wrote Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

It's no wonder why.

  • Opinion: Mitt Romney's Bain History Deserves Scrutiny
  • Debate Club: Bain is Romney' s Strength and Obama's Weakness
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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.