Gallup Poll Editors: Mitt Romney’s Strengths and Weaknessses

The editors of the Gallup Pull have taken a long, hard look at the Republican’s new Presidential nominee Mitt Romney and find a mixed bag as he prepares to deliver what many predict will be the speech of his political life at the Republican convention tonight in Tampa. Two key findings: his likability is up somewhat but it still could be a factor that could cost him the election — which makes his speech even more important.

Soon-to-be-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is about as well-liked as he has been during the presidential campaign, with 48% of Americans holding a favorable view of him and 46% an unfavorable view. His image was only slightly more positive in May — about the time he clinched the Republican nomination. As recently as mid-July, significantly more Americans viewed him unfavorably than favorably.


Romney’s improved image could benefit him as he takes the stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night. However, Romney still gets a lower favorability rating than President Barack Obama, 53% to 48%, in the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 20-22. While this gap is down from his double-digit favorability deficits against Obama at times over the past year, any deficit in favorability could be an obstacle to victory for Romney, and thus will be important for him to try to rectify via this week’s convention or during the fall campaign.

Some other findings:

  • Romney lags behind on Obama on character issues.
  • Romney holds the advantage on economic issues.
  • Romney’s wealth and tax filings are an issue to some.
  • Highly religious foters, whites, older americans, men among Romney’s base
  • Gallup’s bottom line:

    As Romney prepares to make his GOP presidential nomination acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, a review of the public’s attitudes toward the former Massachusetts governor demonstrates a wide range of strengths and weaknesses that he takes into the convention phase of the campaign. Romney clearly comes up short against Obama in terms of his personal image, including views of the two candidates’ “likability” and overall favorable ratings. On the other hand, Romney has a clear edge as the candidate better able to handle the economy — Americans’ consensus choice as the most important problem facing the country.

    All in all, despite these differences, the two candidates headed into the conventions neck-and-neck in Gallup’s trial heat tracking. According to historical patterns, Romney can expect to see a bounce from his convention this week, as should Obama from his convention next week. Thus, the key statistic will be the two candidates’ standing when the dust from the conventions settles in mid-September.

    In other words: a closely fought race. And if independent voters are looking upon all the partisan anger and what several independent voters in several states have characterized to me as “political craziness,” in the words of the late Al Jolson and the late Ronald Reagan: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

    Here’s Pollster’s graph showing the results of 247 shows. It shows Romney on the ascent and Obama on the descent:

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    • zephyr

      Romney has a clear edge as the candidate better able to handle the economy

      And so what if there’s no evidence whatsoever to support such a notion? The American electorate, what a bunch of knuckleheads.

    • ShannonLeee

      It is a branding thing. Reps have branded themselves as the business people..and not even W Bush’s destruction of our economy has been able to break that brand. The economic issue are important, but social issues are the only thing keep Republicans in power. In Germany, the economic conservatives are a dead party. The financial crisis destroyed them because they did not have religion to fall back on. No party own religion in Germany…not like the Reps do in the US.

    • ShannonLeee

      Hmm… wonder what happened in mid July to cause such a large spike in favorability?

    • CStanley

      I find it fascinating, and disturbing, the way the polls are all steadily converging right at a 50:50 split. I say disturbing because I’m concerned that we are going to see a very messy election again, and also because even if the results come out cleaner than 2000 we’re still stuck with hyperpolarization that causes rancor and extremely difficult governance ( no one can claim a mandate and both sides find it easier to blame the other than to take any responsibility.)

    • zephyr

      CS, will you take comfort in the knowledge that Obama will be grossly outspent in terms of cash and negative rhetoric from here on out?

    • http://www.americaincontext.com Barky

      ShannonLeeeAugust 30, 2012
      Hmm… wonder what happened in mid July to cause such a large spike in favorability?

      Republicans can afford to go on vacation. The only people who were at home to answer the phone were the poor.

    • CStanley

      Zephyr, no actually it looks to me like the spending, too, even if mismatched, will just result in a stalemate. If you look at the little bit of movement in swing state polls, it’s like the two campaigns have just started splitting the undecided voters down the middle.

      It still could change, as a fair number of states are within the margin of error and turnout may make it more decisive. if all or most of those states do end up tilting one way or the other, it could still approach landslide territory or at least produce a clear winner.