Romney’s Tax Returns Are Hurting Him Badly

Jamelle Bouie highlights the following question from today’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll:

Recent events have hurt both candidates, but Jamelle points out that the tax issue has hurt Romney much more than anything else:

Romney’s anger over the Obama campaign’s decision to go after his tax returns makes more sense in this light; the controversy is doing real damage to his campaign, and more important, it has the potential to do more if Team Obama can return it to the forefront of the discussion.

I wouldn’t bet against that possibility. As long as Romney refuses to release his returns, Obama can continue to hit him on the issue. Death by a thousand cuts is an exaggeration, but it’s not far off from what might happen; Romney could become defined by the things he won’t reveal, and gradually loses the trust of the public. His low favorability becomes a burden he can’t lift, keeping him behind Obama through the fall, and into the election.

We’ll see. My guess is that Romney’s tax returns don’t have quite that much staying power, and the Obama campaign will move on to other topics in the near future. Romney’s tax plan, which is almost comically tilted toward the rich, is one possibility. It plays off Romney’s tax returns nicely, and I understand that attacks on Romney’s plan poll pretty well.