A majority of registered voters in the U.S. viewed Mitt Romney unfavorably as Republicans gathered in Tampa, Florida, to select him as the party’s presidential nominee, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll.
Romney is the first party standard-bearer to have a higher unfavorable rating than favorable at the start of his party’s convention since Walter Mondale became the Democratic nominee 28 years ago, according to the poll.
The poll showed 51 percent viewed Romney unfavorably and 40 percent viewed him favorably. In 1984, Mondale, poised to win the Democratic presidential nomination, was regarded unfavorably by 49 percent and favorably by 47 percent. Mondale lost to President Ronald Reagan in a landslide as the Republican won re- election.
The new survey was taken before the Republican convention began in Tampa this week. Romney’s unfavorable rating is an impediment to his efforts to defeat President Barack Obama even as U.S. unemployment exceeds 8 percent and the nation’s economy struggles to recover. Obama was viewed favorably by 50 percent and unfavorably by 47 percent in the poll.
Obama has been in favorable territory since January. Even so, his current favorable rating is lower than any winner since at least 1984, except for George H.W. Bush in 1988, who had a 49 percent favorable and a 36 percent unfavorable rating.
Romney’s 51 percent unfavorable rating is his highest since the question was asked beginning in September 2011, and higher than any nominee of either party since 1984. He was viewed favorably by 46 percent of men and 34 percent of women, while 47 percent of men and 55 percent of women viewed him unfavorably.
The poll of 814 registered voters was taken Aug. 22-26 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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