As you watch cable news coverage of the presidential race, keep in mind the fact that news organizations have a vested interest in keeping the race tight. Logically, a close race produces much better ratings than a race in which the outcome is a foregone conclusion.
With that in mind, here is a factor that I have yet to hear mentioned in the coverage I’ve seen: Voters don’t like Mitt Romney.
Last month, for example, a NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that just 33 percent of voters had a favorable view of Mitt Romney — a 6-point drop from the previous poll — while 48 percent had a favorable view of Pres. Obama.
The poll also aggregated responses from voters in eight swing states and found that Romney was viewed favorably by just 30 percent of voters in these states, where, if the race remains tight, the election will be won.
Pres. Obama led Romney 47-43 percent overall in the NBC poll. In the swing states, he led Romney 50-42 percent.
Polls last month also found that Romney’s favorable rating in Florida was 37 percent versus Obama’s at 47 percent; in Ohio Romney had a favorable rating of 32 percent, while the president’s was 50 percent; and in Pennsylvania, the Romney had a 34 percent favorable rating 34 percent while the president’s was upside down at 45-49 percent.
In the ABC-Washington Post poll released yesterday, among registered voters, Romney had a likable rating of just 26 percent.
In our article last month, we looked at the last four presidential races — the only races for which polling data on favorability four months out from Election Day was readily available — in aech race, both candidates had favorable ratings around 50 percent.
Is it possible for Mitt Romney to win the presidency with favorable ratings in the thirties? And, despite the fact that his favorables appear to be trending down, can he turn those numbers around in four months?
It seems very unlikely, but maybe one of our betters in cable punditry will take a look at this issue and weigh in.