I am little surprised that this finding reported
in today's Washington Post, from the
latest Post/ABC News poll, is not
getting more attention:
Although [Mitt] Romney is not as
well known nationally as many of the other leading candidates, he has made a
poor first impression on the public. Fifty-four percent said they would
definitely not vote for him; 7 percent said they definitely would back him.
The ABC News write-up includes
this additional detail. The 54 percent that would definitely not support Romney
includes "a third of Republicans - a particularly broad
level of rejection within his own party."
A third of Republicans? Yes, the presidential campaign is off to its earliest
start ever, and yes, according to the same ABC/Post poll,
the 66% following the presidential campaign "very closely" or "somewhat closely"
is higher now than it was in September 2003 (56%) or October 1999 (61%), but
that sort of reaction still seems surprisingly high. Especially since, a bit
later in the survey, only 14% say they know a "great deal" or a "good amount"
about Romney's positions on specific issues, 15% say they know some and more than
half (51%) say they know "little or nothing."
As both articles point out, opposition
to Romney is greater than much better known figures, such as Hillary Clinton
(45%) and John McCain (47%).
Two other polls out in the last week
showed Romney with negative ratings that were slightly (though not
significantly) higher than his positives: Gallup (23% favorable, 24%
unfavorable - via Polling
Report) and CBS News
(10% favorable, 16% unfavorable). Still, the negative percentages on those
surveys clearly fall far short of the 54% definitely not support number on the
Romney was the subject of much
negative coverage recently focusing the his claims to be a "lifelong hunter,"
including a recent attack
by Republican candidate Mike Huckabee. But I am still puzzled by the huge "definitely
not support" result in the Post/ABC
survey. Anyone have a better theory?
UPDATE: The recent Time/SRBI survey asked a similar question that produced some very different results. Details here.