Twice as many Americans polls like President Barack Obama as they do presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Tuesday.
Obama's 60 percent to 31 percent advantage on this characteristic is the largest for either candidate on five separate dimensions tested by Gallup. While polls released this week show Romney leading among independents, and the two nearly deadlocked overall, the likeability factor is one watched closely by pollsters.
The good news for Romney is that he has until November to overcome this gap, a process that has only just begun with the conclusion of one of the most contentious GOP primary battles within memory.
Obama leads or statistically ties Romney on each of the five dimensions tested in the poll, Gallup reported.
Obama holds a significant lead on caring about the needs of people and being a strong and decisive leader. Romney's best showing is on managing the government effectively, for which he holds a slight but not statistically meaningful 46 percent to 43 percent edge over Obama.
Republicans see Romney as the candidate who better exemplifies each of the five positive characteristics, while Democrats choose Obama for all five. Obama's overall advantages are due to his stronger showing among independents, and slightly higher scores among Democrats than Romney receives among Republicans, on most characteristics.
Romney remains competitive with Obama in terms of vote preference. For the last 10 days, the two have generally been tied or within one percentage point of each other in Gallup Daily tracking of registered voters' candidate preferences.
“Romney's likability deficit presents a challenge for his campaign as it attempts to shape his image with voters,” Gallup reported on its website. “The campaign can attempt to increase perceptions of Romney as a likable person, or concede that dimension to Obama and try to emphasize other aspects of Romney's character and record on which he is more competitive with Obama, such as perceived managerial competence.”
At present, Romney doesn't seem to be hurting too badly from a likability deficit, given his competitiveness with Obama in voter support. However, it is also possible Romney would be doing better versus Obama if voters found him more likable.
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