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New Presidential Polls Puncture Conventional Wisdom New Presidential Polls Puncture Conventional Wisdom New Presidential Polls Puncture Conventional Wisdom New Presidential Polls Pu...

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New Presidential Polls Puncture Conventional Wisdom

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney surrounded by his family points towards supporters at the Romney for President New Hampshire primary night victory party at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

May 15, 2012

Narratives can be stubborn things. For most of this election, President Obama has been cast as the more likable candidate, while Mitt Romney has been stereotyped as the candidate likely to pander. But two new polls show that those perceptions may be off-base.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it's Romney that has an edge over Obama on personal favorability. Romney's favorable/unfavorable rating is 50/41, an edge over the president's 52/46 score. It's proof that favorability is a volatile data point, especially when it comes to a lesser-known presidential challenger. 

While political junkies are tracking every move of the candidates, most Americans are just beginning to tune in to the campaign coverage, and forming their opinions of Romney. (It's a big reason why Team Obama went up so early with a two-minute ad trying to cast Romney's record at Bain in the most unfavorable light possible.)

Meanwhile, the CBS/New York Times survey showed that voters overwhelmingly believe that President Obama decided to come out in favor of gay marriage for political reasons, and not out of principle. Two-thirds of those said Obama made the decision "mostly for political decisions" with just 24 percent saying "because he thinks it's right." This, as the president's re-election team has cast his decision as a historic one that took much political courage.

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