Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Setting Expectations

Zeke Miller at BuzzFeed posts a graphic showing that Romney has the lowest net favorability rating of any eventual nominee since 1996.  However, I'm not sure that he is, as Miller's headline suggests, "historically weak."

After all, let's look at history and go all the way back to 1992 (a date that Miller does not include in his graphic).  By June of 1992, Bill Clinton's approval rating could have been better, as S.E. Cupp reminds us:
In June 1992, Clinton was third in the polls, behind President George Herbert Walker Bush and Ross Perot, and his favorability rating was an embarrassing 16%. Even forgetting that Perot split the conservative vote and probably cost Bush reelection, it’s hard to believe that Clinton went from such low favorability to the White House in such a short span of time.
Compared to Clinton's 16% favorability, Romney's 37% rating from late March seems positively golden.  Gallup put Clinton's favorability rating at 34% in early April 1992, still below Romney's current rating. Moreover, Romney's favorability rating is climbing.

And these early favorability numbers might not be the most persuasive.  According to Miller's chart, the candidate with the highest net favorability in the March of an election year was Bob Dole.  Another fact from history: there was no President Dole.

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