CNN Poll: Romney favorable rating rebounds
April 17th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Romney favorable rating rebounds

Washington (CNN) - Does Mitt Romney deserve a second look now that he's pretty much wrapped up the race for Republican presidential nomination?

According to a new national poll, the answer is yes.

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And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday also indicates that Romney's popularity is starting to rebound now that the divisiveness of the primaries appears to be all but over.

Forty-four percent of people questioned in the survey say they have a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor, up 10 points from February, during some of the most heated moments of the GOP primaries and caucuses. Forty-three percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of Romney, down 11 points from February. Thirteen percent are unsure.

The poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, a few days after former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his bid for the GOP nomination. Even though former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continue their long-shot bids for the nomination, Romney is now generally considered the presumptive nominee.

The survey indicates that Romney's popularity still lags well behind President Barack Obama's: 56% have a favorable view of the president, with 42% saying they see Obama in a negative light.

"The Republican Party's favorable rating has also rebounded now that the nomination fight is all but over, from 35% in March to 41%," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That still puts the GOP several points behind the Democratic party's 46% rating, but it is an indication that the wounds have started to head from the primary season."

The changes come at a good time for Romney, who is hoping to re-introduce himself to the American public, since it looks like a good chunk of the public will be receptive to that message. According to the poll, 53% of all Americans plan to give Romney a second look when the primaries are officially over, with 45% saying they already know enough about Romney to decide whether he would be a good president.

The candidate's wife, Ann Romney, has become much more visible on the campaign trail, and was in the national spotlight last week, after Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen created a controversy by saying that Romney "never worked a day in her life."

The poll indicates that Ann Romney's unfamiliar to roughly four in ten Americans, but her favorable rating outweighs her unfavorables by a two-to-one margin. Seventy-one percent have a favorable opinion of Michelle Obama, with 22% saying they hold an unfavorable view of the first lady.

As for Michelle Obama's husband, while his favorable rating, which measures reactions to him as a person, stands at 56%, the president's approval rating, which indicates what Americans think about his performance in office, stands at 49%, with 48% saying they disapprove of how he's handling his duties. Obama's approval rating in CNN polling stood at 51% last month, with his disapproval rating at 45%.

According to the poll, 47% of crucial independent voters give the president a thumbs up, with 49% saying they disapprove of the job he's doing in the White House.

"Obama's personal popularity has consistently been his biggest strength, both as president and as presidential candidate," says Holland. "And his 56% favorable rating has a historical resonance as well. Two of the last three presidents to win re-election - George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan - had an identical 56% favorable rating in April of the year they won a second term, and the third - Bill Clinton - had a 57% favorable rating in April of 1996."

On the other hand, Obama's 49% approval rating illustrates the dangers his re-election bid may face.

"No president since Harry Truman has won re-election with an approval rating below 50% in April of a re-election year, and Obama is three to five points behind where Reagan, Clinton and Bush were in their re-election efforts," Holland points out.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International April 13-15, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 910 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story

Also see:

House election committees add millions to coffers

Romney ready for November fight: 'It's going to be fun'

Romney says he wouldn't transport dog on roof again

Filed under: 2012 • CNN/ORC International poll • Polls
soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Terry

    If you like being a Whiney Loser, be a Democrat. If you want to be strong and successful, work hard, get an education, and vote Republican.

    April 17, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. amac

    So 44% of those polled have a favorable impression of Romney, while 43% have an unfavorable impression and 13% are unsure.

    Meanwhile, 56% have a favorable view of the president, with 42% saying they see Obama in a negative light.

    Consider also this history lesson: Harry Truman may be the only president to date to win election with a popularity poll rating below 50% in April of the election year. But Truman didn't just do it, he did it with a divided party and two third party candidacies (split from the Democrats) against him. And who's to say whether Romney may not himself face a similar situation, with evangicals, tea-partiers and libertarians splitting away to support a third party candidacy for, say, Ron Paul?

    One more thing Obama and Truman have in common: Romney is the biggest stiff to (presumptively at this date) win the Repuglican Party nomination for president of the United States since Thomas E. Dewey.

    April 17, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. mj

    Wishing Obama does well in opening a Algae Energy Company once leaving the White House.

    April 17, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Terry

    Go, Mitt.

    April 17, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Q

    Romney is an out of touch billionaire who only cares about the rich. He is a corporate puppet and unless you are rich, and white, I don't get how anyone could vote for that idiot.

    April 17, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Steve

    @ Franky
    It has nothing to do because he is not white. His policies suck.

    April 17, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    @angryed, Romney has held one elected office: he's a career candidate perhaps, but a career politician? Nope. He's not even good at being a candidate, frankly.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Emperor Vadik, CA

    Not for long...

    ...the Repubs just gave up on Santorum and said "yeah sure, we like Romney"....'s only going to get worse for Romney now that Obama will tear him a new one...

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |

    I love President Obama. Obama did not distroy the economy Bush did. My mother always said everytime Republicans get in office the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The Republicans are so hateful they and they are so out for themselves.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. YtownSports

    41% doesn't win elections. His success will depend on how many indpendents are going to be motivated to register anti-Obama votes. My guess is that those votes will be a third to a half of whatever he gets.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  11. Steven

    Going to start having polls every day with who has gained or lost a .001%. Endless. Useless.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. Matt Mattson

    Why don't we re-elect the guy who never ran so much as a hot dog stand in his life and see if things will improve? I guess it makes as much sense as any because many of you hear are eager to vote for Obama again. Of course he's got the 94% racist black vote in his hip pocket no matter what.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. beevee

    The reintroduction of Romney to the american public is like a chameleon on a different surface. Now he will start pandering to anything. His will be a bad choice to the resurging economy but a good one for the top 1%. He will make every rich person happier except the middle class. Tehy will continue to down slide if he gets into the WH no matter what he says and promises.

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. Steve

    A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. She considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, but
    her father was a staunch Republican. One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to high
    taxes and welfare programs. He stopped her and asked how she was doing in school.
    She answered that she had a 4.0 GPA, but it was really tough. She had to study all the time and never had time to go
    out and party. She didn't have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of spending all
    her time studying. On top of that, the part-time job her father insisted she keep left absolutely no time for anything else.
    He asked, 'How is your friend Mary?' She replied that Mary was barely getting by. She had a 2.0 GPA, never studied,
    but was very popular on campus, didn't have a job, and went to all the parties. She was always complaining about not
    having any money, but didn't want to work. Why, she often didn't show up for classes because she was hung over.
    Dad then asked his daughter why she didn't go to the Dean's office and request that 1.0 be taken off her 4.0 and given
    it to her friend who only had a 2.0. That way they would both have a respectable 3.0 GPA. Then, she could also give
    her friend half the money she'd earned from her job so that her friend would no longer be broke. The daughter angrily
    fired back, 'That wouldn't be fair. I worked really hard for my grades and money, and Mary just loafs. Why should her
    laziness and irresponsibility be rewarded with half of what I've worked for?' The father slowly smiled and said,
    'Welcome to the Republican Party'."

    April 17, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. WWJeffD

    Hey CNN – Ever read your own Pole's or how you report on them? If you could add 2+2 it should be apparent the Pres is in the driver’s seat here.
    Mittens uptick is just a last desperate gasp for air before the rank and file GOP drink the
    Cool Aid, kill all the babies and fall in line.
    Republican Campaign Review – Anybody but – Bachman, Caine, Perry, Santorium or Gingrich.
    Poll results will confirm the previous sentence. I just hope that the Electoral College can’t be scammed.

    April 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Emperor Vadik, CA


    Funny you say that...

    ...Romney got his fortune from his father while Obama started from nothing....

    April 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. james

    Were waiting..what is it youre going to do Mitt..specifics please ? In the end, he will still be talking about Bain Capitol and how he fixed everything.

    April 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Coug9

    If the Democrats attack his wealth.....then I say "Exactly how is his success a poor quality to have? Don't we want our President to be the best of us?"
    if the Dems attack his religion.......then I say "For being the party of tolerance, you sure seem to attack the guys religion a lot"
    Romney is smarter, more qualified, better prepared, and more honest then Obama ever will be. If the scary thought of 4 more yaers of an Obama admin. doesn't swing your vote, then the simple qualifications Romney has to lead our country should.

    April 17, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Iamnotfooled

    Of course its rebounding . Those who were voting for the other candidates no longer have a candidate so they are FORCED to vote for Romney.

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Rick

    This guy has to be absolutely the phoniest politician I've ever had the misfortune to see in my 54 years on the planet. Some people actually hate blacks soooo much they'd vote for him over the president? Thank goodness I don't live in America.

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Larry Pooface

    It appears as if a lot of people do not understand what a president actually does. They are not that powerful. If you want a dictator, move somewhere that has one. If not, pick up your kid's Civics book and quit polluting the comments section of every news site.

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  22. Franky

    Obama isn't for the government helping people who can't help themselves, this is the greatest misunderstanding of the democratic party, democrats are for the government ensuring that everyone has a fair chance or opportunity to be successful if they are willing to wark hard. The bottom line is the "Republican" philosophy leads to capital monopoly essentially the capital held in the hands of a few, and we all know he who holds the capital , makes the rules, thusly by default the system under the Republican mantra will ultimately become unfair, because it won't be based at all on how hard you work. To give a simple example take WalMart, because, WalMart controls nearly all the capital in it's respective market, it makes the rules, and regardless of how hard a mom-pop shop is willing to work, they'll never be able to compete, but forget mom and pop shops, another player won't be able to come in and compete. The importance of government in this case is to ensure that the little guy has a shot at becoming the big guy. That's the democratic vision, it's not to make everyone equal, but to ensure everyone has opportunity. The GOP wants to give all the breaks to the people who already have all the capital so how can anyone ever come in and compete with that?

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. realitybites

    An extreme conservative, a conservative, a moderate, and a liberal walk into a bar and the bartender says, "Oh hi, Mitt."

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Romney has one huge advantage over Obama"

    Yeah, he's white and a large portion of this country is still stuck on being racist pigs. Yeah yeah..."shhhhh, you're not supposed to talk about're supposed to pretend this is post-racial Amurika and everything is equal now." Eff that noise.

    April 17, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Stevelb1

    His favorable rating is up because he's been quiet since he locked up the nomination. Once he starts campaigning and speaking again, he will plummet. He's flip flopped so badly on so many issues, anything he says will be pointed out as a liar.

    April 17, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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