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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:24 AM

WaPo POLL: Public sours on Romney in January - Among indies, unfaves up 17 pts., faves down 18 pts.

Public sours on Romney in January
By Jon Cohen

The number of Americans with negative views of Mitt Romney has spiked in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, compounding the former Massachusetts governor’s challenges as he tries to rally from Saturday’s big loss in South Carolina.

Among independents, Romney’s unfavorable rating now tops 50 percent — albeit by a single point — a first in Post-ABC polling back to 2006. Just two weeks ago, more independents had favorable than unfavorable views of Romney; now, it’s 2 to 1 negative.

Romney’s losses since a Post-ABC poll conducted between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are not limited to independents. The number of Democrats viewing him unfavorably is up 10 percentage points, and among his fellow Republicans, negative ratings have jumped from 18 to 32 percent. (Prior to his Iowa performance, Romney’s unfavorable number had been higher than 18, but hadn’t been in the 30s among Republicans since early 2008.)

Despite the slide, at 58 percent favorable among Republicans, Romney is as well reviewed as is his primary rival: In the new poll, 55 percent of rank-and-file Republicans give Newt Gingrich positive ratings. Some 34 percent view the former speaker unfavorably.

Nor does Gingrich fare better than Romney among independents, with Gingrich’s favorable numbers among independents at a low point back to the fall of 1996.


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