Romney's Unmet Debate Challenges: Likeability And Caring Nearly Unchanged

October 10, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 10/6/2012) There is little doubt that Mitt Romney’s strong debate performance (and Barack Obama’s weak one) last week helped to reshape the race in Romney’s favor. But did the former Massachusetts Governor’s debate performance help to change some negative perceptions that Americans had of Romney prior to the debate, in areas such as personal likeability and empathy with average Americans? On likeability, there wasn’t much evidence of real change. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, registered voters remain closely divided on whether or not they have a favorable or unfavorable view of the Republican nominee, with half saying they are unfavorable. 42% of registered voters this week dislike the Republican, just about the same percentage as a week ago.

The President remains better liked: 43% of registered voters like him "a lot;" just 28% dislike him.

Romney also changed few minds when it comes to perceptions of his empathy for average Americans. There was almost no change in the percentages of registered voters who thought Romney "cares about people like me" and "cares about the middle class," the social class that most Americans claim as their own. There was a small gain in the percentage of voters who think Romney cares about the poor, which rose from 39% a week ago to 43% now. President Obama continues to do better on all these measures.