Here’s just how unlikable Mitt Romney is: As the New York Times pointed out a year ago, no U.S. president has won reelection with the unemployment rate higher than 7.2% since FDR in 1936. “Seventeen months before the next election,” wrote the Times, “it is increasingly clear that President Obama must defy that trend to keep his job.” Except not. Because he’s running against Mitt Romney.
A new national poll conducted by Bloomberg shows Obama leading Romney by a full 13 points nationally (53 to 40%) despite unemployment apparently stuck at 8.2%. The 7.2% benchmark referenced above was set when Ronald Reagan won reelection, and historians speculate he was able to win because of the perception that the unemployment rate was falling fast throughout campaign season. By contrast, today’s 8.2% unemployment rate isn’t showing sign of budging anytime soon.
On top of that, more voters actually say Romney’s experience as a former CEO makes him “better-prepared to create jobs as president” and more voters say electing a former CEO would be a good idea given the current economic climate.
And he’s still 13 points behind.
It seems the most damning number for Romney is the number who see him as “out of touch” with average Americans—he’s out ahead of Obama by almost 20 points on that one.
Also notable is that Romney’s general “unfavorable” rating spiked 17 points since starting his primary campaign. Bloomberg notes this indicates the prevalence of negative attack ads, which is certainly true. For that matter it also indicates the importance of SuperPACs’ new role, which run almost exclusively negative ads.
But it also indicates Romney’s failure to make a good impression on his own over the last year, most of which he’s spent campaigning. The moments that have stuck to Romney most in creating his image of being out of touch weren’t attack ads but Romney’s own doing, like when he snapped “Corporations are people” at a man in Iowa and the video went viral, or when he tried to bet Rick Perry $10,000 on a nationally televised debate.
November is still a long way away, and Romney’s spending on negative ads against Obama will definitely intensify through the fall. But still, Romney is going to need to attract some die-hards into his camp if he’s going to pull this thing off. He’s lagging way behind Obama on enthusiasm with “35 percent of Romney backers saying their support for him is ‘very strong,’ compared with 51 percent of Obama backers who say so.”
In 2008 Obama told Hillary Clinton, “You’re likable enough.” The same may not be true for Mitt Romney.