Mitt Romney might be more electable than his Republican competitors, but that has more to do with their complete unpopularity than it does with his overall standing in the public. Indeed, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center, Romney remains unpopular with a large plurality of voters.
Among all voters, however, Romney’s image is negative. In fact, slightly fewer voters have a favorable opinion of Romney than did so in November (33 percent now, 38 percent then); nearly half of voters (47 percent) say they have an unfavorable impression of the former Massachusetts governor.
The big question is whether this changes in the summer, when the Republican Party—as a whole—will have united behind Romney as the GOP nominee for president. Even then, if Romney continues to come off as an out-of-touch plutocrat, there’s a fair chance that he becomes more unpopular as time goes on.
What’s more, Romney’s unfavorables are growing at the same time that Obama has improved his standing with the public. A new national poll from CBS News and The New York Times shows Obama with a 47 percent approval rating versus 45 percent disapproval—the second time in as many months that he has had a positive approval rating. In a head-to-head match-up with Romney, notes Public Policy Polling, Obama leads by 5 points, 49–44.
Overall, the trend line for Obama’s approval rating is going up, while the trend line for Romney’s popularity is going down. If this holds through the spring—and job growth continues on its current pace—then Obama is almost certain to enter the general election with momentum on his side.