(CNN) – After weeks of scathing back-and-forth between President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a plurality of the American public views the incumbent Democrat as running a more favorable campaign, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll indicated 46% of Americans viewed Obama's campaign favorably, compared to only 38% who viewed Romney's. On the flip side, 45% viewed Obama's effort as unfavorably and 49% said they had an unfavorable impression of Romney's campaign.
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Perhaps more surprising: nearly one-in-four self-identified Republicans viewed Romney's campaign unfavorably, compared to 18% of Democrats who felt the same about Obama's effort.
Similarly, 31% of conservative Republicans said they felt strongly favorable toward Romney's campaign, compared to 51% of liberal Democrats who felt the same about Obama's campaign.
The poll comes as attacks have turned increasingly negative between Romney, who clinched the GOP nomination in May, and Obama. Democrats have seized upon reports that Romney remained CEO of Bain Capital after 1999, the year he has repeatedly said he left the privatge equity company to head the Salt Lake City Olympics. At the heart of the debate are companies that were acquired by Bain and then outsourced jobs to counties with low labor costs.
Democrats, as well as some Republicans, have also hit Romney for not release more of his personal income tax returns. Romney, who has released his return from 2010 and an estimate of 2011 (Romney says he'll release the 2011 returns when they are complete), says he's disclosed more than enough.
Romney's team, meanwhile, has been under pressure from some Republicans to ramp up their hits on Obama. An ad released over the weekend criticized the president for his negative attacks, saying they fly in the face of his 2008 campaign promise of "hope and change." Romney's team also launched an attack blasting Obama for funneling federal funds to companies whose owners had contributed to his campaign coffers.
The ABC News/Washington Post poll was taken by telephone from 1,015 adults between July 11-15. The sampling error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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