‘‘Democrats do use the tea party label to attack Republicans and try to tie them to a strict orthodoxy,’’ Nick said.
Further hurting the Republican brand is the status of each party’s most recent former president. Only one-fourth of Americans had a favorable view of Bush when his presidency ended, according to Gallup. His standing has improved somewhat since then, but he lags far behind former President Bill Clinton. A recent Bloomberg News poll found that nearly 2 in 3 Americans favorably view the former Democratic president.
Ron Thomas, 26, is an independent voter with a fairly dim view of the national Republican Party.
‘‘Who will help the working man more? It’s definitely Barack,’’ said Thomas, who works for a rental car company in Charlotte.
Thomas, who endured a chilly drizzle this week to discuss politics, has few problems with Republicans at the state level. In fact, he supports Republican Pat McCrory in the governor’s race, saying the former Charlotte mayor is good on urban issues.
But Thomas said Romney turned him off with his claim that the 47 percent of Americans who don’t owe federal income taxes will not take responsibility for their lives.
‘‘I'm part of that 47 percent,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘I have a college degree, and I work two jobs,’’ he said, but it’s still a struggle.
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