Dem pollster: Romney ‘one of the most unpopular nominees in modern political history’


Mitt Romney is running virtually even with President Obama in most national surveys lately. But polling data shows he’s still a remarkably unpopular candidate, one Democratic pollster reminded viewers on The Melissa Harris-Perry Show Sunday.

Cornell Belcher, who is polling for President Obama’s campaign, put Romney’s recent slight polling uptick in context. He noted that most recent major-party nominees challenging an incumbent have at some point led in the polls.

“Dole took a lead on Clinton. Kerry took a lead on Bush,” Belcher said. “In none of these polls have we seen [Romney] taking a statistically significant lead in most of the pubic polling.”

Host Melissa Harris-Perry seized on those remarks. “Say that again, in case folks missed that,” she asked Belcher.

In response, Belcher broke things down in a bit more detail.

“Especially when the primary season starts to wrap up, and the base of their party starts to rally around them, you’ve seen them take a lead,” he said, referring again to post challengers like Dole and Kerry. “Romney has never sort of taken a significnat lead in any of the polls. And even in NBC’s polling, or CNN’s polling right now, he’s still down a couple points.”

Belcher added that the underlying problem for Romney is not reflected in the head-to-head numbers, but rather in his personal favorability ratings.

“He’s what we call underwater right now,” Belcher said. “Meaning his [unfavorables] are higher than his favorables right now, and actually at a historic level. So he goes into the convention as one of the most unpopular nominees in modern political history, which is a real problem.”

Indeed, an NBC News poll (pdf) released this week found 38% of respondents with a favorable view of Romney, and 44% with an unfavorable view.


Mitt Romney

Dem pollster: Romney 'one of the most unpopular nominees in modern political history'