Is Mitt Romney the Most Unpopular Likely Presidential Nominee Ever?
In his article Andrew Romano points out that Romney has a larger favorability deficit than any other modern presidential candidate. Furthermore, he boasts “the worst primary-season favorable-unfavorable split of any major-party nominee of at least the last 36 years.” Romano concludes that in order to win in November, “Romney would have to make history” and that such a victory would be very unlikely. However, Romano’s conclusion may be wrong. The statistics Romano quotes, when viewed historically, seem to suggest that Romney is a uniquely unpopular candidate. However, these poor numbers may be indicative of a generally hostile electorate.
Congress’ approval ratings are at historic lows. Polls also suggest that Americans are particularly pessimistic about the nation’s current track. The general pessimism and distrust of politics illustrated by these polls may be having an effect on candidates’ polling numbers. Supporting that possibility, Romney’s current favorability rating against Obama is strong at 44 percent to 48 (respectively). Thus, Romney’s low numbers may be more indicative of a disgruntled, upset electorate than a profound unpopularity on his part. After all, he is the leading Republican candidate.