Poll Watch: More bad polling news for Romney - Los Angeles Times
Mitt Romney’s campaign, which has had a rough week so far in public polls, got more bad news Thursday as the Pew Research Center released a survey showing the number of voters with an unfavorable image of him increasing and President Obama’s lead widening.Pew’s results this election year have generally shown a wider Obama lead than some other major polls, particularly the CBS/New York Times and Gallup polls. So the overall size of Obama’s lead in the new survey, 51% to 41%, does not fundamentally change the picture of the race in which nearly all major surveys show Obama holding at least a small lead. The one exception is the Rasmussen tracking survey, which has consistently shown Romney ahead and currently has him leading by two percentage points.
But the finding that Romney’s favorability ratings have declined reinforces other recent polls that, taken together, indicate the Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s business record and personal taxes have had an impact. According to the survey, 52% of registered voters had a negative view of Romney, with 37% viewing him positively -- the lowest ratings for any major-party presidential nominee going back to 1988.
The survey showed the race to be somewhat tighter in 12 potential battleground states, with Obama holding a 48%-44% edge. Some other polls have shown the reverse -- Obama doing better in battleground states than nationwide. The polls are not comparable because each includes different states. Pew’s battleground list included eight that most analysts consider swing states -- Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida -- as well as Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The poll, which was conducted just before Romney’s recent trip to Europe and Israel, holds one cheering note for the Republican -- his supporters appear more engaged in the election than Obama’s. Among Romney backers, 70% said they had given “a lot of thought” to the election. Among Obama supporters, 57% said they had given the contest “a lot” of thought.
Moreover, while Romney’s favorability is low, Obama’s ratings are not great. His narrowly favorable 50%-45% rating is poorer than that of any Democratic nominee since Michael Dukakis in 1988 and all but two past Republican nominees: Sen. Bob Dolein 1996 and President George H.W. Bush four years earlier. Dukakis, Bush and Dole all lost.
For both Romney and Obama, the deeply polarized nature of the electorate has helped drive up the number of voters who view them negatively. Among Romney supporters, 93% see Obama unfavorably, and among Obama supporters, 84% view Romney unfavorably. Those negative feelings toward the opposite party’s candidate are far starker than in many previous elections.
The small number of undecided voters -- 7% in the survey -- agree with both sides in that regard, disdaining both men. By 57%-18%, the undecided have a negative view of Romney, the poll found, while only about a third of the undecided have a positive view of Obama.
The Pew survey was conducted July 16-26, among 2,508 adults, including 1,956 registered voters. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Follow Politics Now on Twitter firstname.lastname@example.org