The latest Gallup poll looking at the candidates’ favorability ratings is chock full with interesting tidbits. At 55% favorable Rudy is the only one of the top eight presidential contenders (the poll include Al Gore) who is above 50%. Rudy’s “net” favorable is also highest at 23%. Hillary’s unfavorable rating outweighs her favorable rating 49-47%. The candidate in last place: Mitt Romney who record a 22-31% favorable to unfavorable result, although 47% never heard of him or don’t know enough about him. Fred Thompson, who is also a mystery to 49% of those polled, has a favorable to unfavorable rating of 31-20%. John McCain has slipped to his worse rating recorded to date — 41-42% favorable to unfavorable.
What does this tell us? Gallup says this about Romney: “Typically, Americans’ ratings of relatively unknown candidates are more favorable than unfavorable in the early stages of their campaign. But opinions of Romney have never been much more positive than negative. His highest net favorable was only +8 this past May. As he has become somewhat better known in recent months, his ratings have become on balance negative, and his current net favorable rating is -9 (22% favorable, 31% unfavorable). ” If you look closely in the poll it appears that although his rating with Republicans is much less than Rudy and Thompson, his biggest difficulty comes with Democrats and Independents (more below). What is not clear is why Romney’s negatives are going up.
By contrast, Gallup has this to say about Thompson: “Thompson — the other still relatively unknown candidate — fits the more typical pattern of being viewed more positively than negatively. His net favorable ratings have been consistent since Gallup first measured his ratings in April — ranging between a +10 and a +16 net favorable rating over this period of time.” The most noteworthy nugget there is that 49% of the public doesn’t know him. Being a celebrity does not equate to being known as a candidate and the notion that he might bypass some retail politicking (on the theory voters already “know him’) and rely on high tech campaign will I think go by the wayside. (It should be noted that Thompson’s unfavorability rating has increased as well from 11 % in April to 20% in August while his favorable rating increased only from 24 to 31%.)
Finally, for those interested in electability Rudy holds a net positive 17% favorability with Independents, Thompson a 4% positive and Romney a negative 17%. McCain seems to have lost his touch with Independents- showing a net 0% (meaning equal numbers view him favorably and unfavorably).
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