Romney's Ironic Favorability Rating

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 10 2012 1:32 PM

Romney's 47-Percent Favorability Rating Is Still Better Than His Fellow Republicans

From left, Mitt Romney, Marc Rubio, Rep. Connie Mack, and Jeb Bush following an October rally in Tampa, Fla.

Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images.

Politico went live this morning with the results of its latest round of national polling, conducted with the help of GOP pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. Most people's topline takeaway was the fact that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both earned favorablity ratings of 47 percent, an irony that I'm guessing I don't need to point out to anyone.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Still, it's worth taking a look at the larger voter-impressions section that brought us that particular nugget of data, if for no other reason than it highlights the GOP's current lack of a clear-cut public face in the wake of the election.


Goeas and Lake asked Americans how they felt about a half dozen leading conservatives, and only Ryan and Romney managed to crack the 40-percent favorability threshold. A large reason for that has to do with the the reality that large swaths of the electorate apparently haven't heard enough about many of the other Republicans to have an opinion of them, but then again that seems very much like a related problem when we're talking about the absence of an obvious standard bearer for the party now that Romney has left the political stage.

Here's the breakdown of the six conservatives the pollsters asked about (favorable/unfavorable/no opinion/never heard of):

  • Mitt Romney: 47-47-6-1*
  • Paul Ryan: 47-33-9-11
  • John Boehner: 29-34-14-24
  • Marco Rubio: 33-15-17-36
  • Jeb Bush: 39-34-15-12  
  • Grover Norquist: 8-18-15-61

No one thinks Norquist has plans for running for office, of course, but it nonetheless was a tiny bit surprising to find out that so few Americans know who he is, particularly given the role he's currently playing in the larger budget conversation going on in Washington. Well, surprising at least until you learn that more than 1 in 10 Americans didn't know who the GOP vice presidential nominee was ...

[Note: Rounding accounts for the instances where the totals don't add up evenly to 100 percent.]

*Correction, Dec. 10, 2012: Due to a typo, an earlier version of this post misstated Romney's unfavorability rating. It is 47 percent, not 37 percent.


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