Mitt Romney has joined previous presumptive presidential nominees in receiving a post-nomination bump in favorable views, reaching a new personal high of 50% in a Gallup poll released Thursday. Romney’s favorability rating is just 2 points lower than President Obama’s, but any celebrations over this new water mark are tempered by its low standing in comparison to recent presidential contenders.
Romney’s 50% favorability rating stands as the second-lowest since Bill Clinton’s in 1992, when the former president was still relatively unknown, and 23% of the nation hadn’t yet to form its opinion on the Democratic nominee. Comparatively, Romney’s current rating is 7 points below Sen. Bob Dole’s, 10 points below Sen. John Kerry’s and 17 points lower than that of his immediate predecessor, Sen. John McCain.
While McCain’s high initial favorability ratings after seizing the candidacy didn’t lead to success in November, in the previous five presidential elections, the presidency has gone to the individual with the highest favorability ratings at the time of the election.
When Gallup last polled Romney’s favorability in February, he was still mired in a primary battle, with Rick Santorum’s campaign building momentum and the former Massachusetts governor’s lauded inevitability looking less-than-certain. Since then, the primary field has been cleared, and Romney has seen an expectedly significant jump in the polls. Though the numbers remain statistically unchanged among Democrats, 22% more Republicans and 11% more Independents now have a favorable opinion of Romney, with just 7% of Republicans now seeing him in an unfavorable light.