Mitt Romney is starting the general election running far behind Barack Obama. A CNN poll puts Obama ahead by 52-43 percent over Romney, a wider margin than Obama actually won in 2008. That's paired with a new Washington Post/ABC News poll that doesn't include a head-to-head matchup but still offers a bit of discouraging news for the new presumptive Republican nominee. Almost half of the country has unfavorable views of Romney. Just 35 percent say they like Romney while 47 percent dislike the former Massachusetts governor. Meanwhile Obama sits comfortably with 56 percent favorability and only 40 percent unfavorable.
As has been the case in most recent polls, Obama owes this advantage to Romney's trouble with women voters. Obama leads Romney 55-39 percent in CNN's numbers, and only 27 percent of women had a favorable impression of Romney in the WaPo survey.
Both polls were conducted during height of the faux-outrage following the manufactured media controversy around Hilary Rosen's comments attacking Ann Romney as Mitt stand-in for female concerns. Perhaps that message was still settling in voters' minds, but these polls indicate that Romney can't win back support among women just by expressing aggrandized shock at a pundit's criticism while continuing to oppose the issues that actually affect women. But even as Romney has moved past the primary he has continued to stand against the policies that triggered the "war on women" meme. During an interview with Dianne Swayer that aired last night Romney waffled on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law signed by Obama during his first year that eases statutory limits on when employment discrimination lawsuits may be filed. Romney said he would not seek to overturn the law, but still has no answer for whether he would have signed it if he had been president in 2008. "I'm not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women," Romney said in response to a direct question from Sawyer.