Mitt Romney: Admiration And Ambivalence Among Americans (Including Republicans)

June 14, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/9/2012) While the Romney campaign would like nothing more than to make President Obama and his record the entire focus of the presidential race, the Obama campaign will surely make every effort to shift the focus of the race to Romney himself. Pooled results from the last four Economist/YouGov surveys shed much light on why the Obama team thinks this a good strategy. Stated simply, Americans find various things to admire in Romney’s resume and personality, but on the whole, they have an ambivalent (even negative) view of the man.

Americans like Romney’s business background. More of them would use the word "experienced" to describe Romney than would use it to describe President Obama. Many Americans would also use favorable qualities such as "intelligent", "patriotic", and "religious" to describe Romney.

But consider the following statistics: only 10% of Americans say they like Romney "a lot." An additional 33% say they like him "somewhat" and 37% say they dislike him. Even more impressively, when asked about Romney’s sincerity, only 22% say that he "say what he believes" while 59% say that he "says what he thinks people want to hear." The Romney campaign can take some solace in the fact that a significant fraction of Americans (around one in five) have not yet developed views about Romney on these matters.

Even Republicans, as it turns out, do not think particularly highly of their presidential nominee. Only 22% of them say they like Romney "a lot"; 59% say they like Romney "somewhat." 43% of Republicans say that Romney "says what he believes", while 19% say that he "says what people wants to hear." To be sure, Romney’s numbers among Republicans have improved substantially since the primary season. Once Romney’s nomination became a near-certainty, a significant percentage of Republican voters jumped on the proverbial Romney bandwagon, changing their opinions of the man who had been chosen to lead their team. Still, there remains a large percentage of hold-outs — Republicans who maintain a deep suspicion of Romney even as they are resigned to support him in the fall.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association