Romney Needed To Change Perceptions In Debate

October 04, 2012, 12:30 PM GMT+0

(Week of 9/29/2012) Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hoped to useWednesday’s debate to change the trajectory of the Presidential race. Did he succeed? Results from the weekly Economist/YouGov poll, conducted before the debates, suggest that Romney’s main obstacles going into the debate involved negative perceptions of the candidate as a person, in particular his perceived insincerity.

More registered voters in this week’s pre-debate polls had an unfavorable view of the Republican nominee than had a favorable opinion of him. In addition, 42% of registered voters said they "dislike" Romney as a person. Only 18% said they like him "a lot." In comparison, 40% of registered voters said they like the President "a lot," while 33% said they dislike him.

Romney has been seen as generally uncaring by most voters. More than half in this week’s poll said he doesn’t care about the poor, or the middle class, or "people like me." These are all qualities the President scored well on with a majority of voters.

In fact, 44% of registered voters said they would use the word "arrogant" to describe Romney.

Another widespread perception of Romney that he needed to focus on diminishing is that of insincerity. Only 36% of registered voters thought Romney says mostly what he believes; 59% stated they thought he says what he believes people want to hear. While opinions of the President on this were divided, they were better than the negative assessment Americans gave Romney.

Fewer than half of registered voters (46%) believed Romney "takes positions on issues and sticks by them;" more (53%) believed that description does not describe the Republican. 39% said they would use the word "hypocritical" to describe Romney; only 27% would call him "sincere."

Voters did give Romney some positive assessments: 62% viewed him as religious (far more than say this about the President), more than half viewed him as "intelligent," and 43% called him "experienced" (even after four years in office, only 28% would use that term for President Obama).

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association