The new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is chock full of interesting data, but Mark Murray flags the results that are likely to cause the most heartburn among Republicans.
Four in 10 of all adults say the GOP nominating process has given them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party, versus just slightly more than one in 10 with a more favorable opinion. [...]And perhaps most significantly, the GOP primary process has taken a toll on the Republican presidential candidates, including front-runner Mitt Romney, who is seen more unfavorably and whose standing with independents remains underwater. [...]"The word you'd have to use at this stage is: 'Corrosive,'" [Republican pollster Bill McInturff] adds.
Here's a chart I put together, showing the favorable/unfavorable ratings for President Obama and each of the four Republican presidential candidates.
The good news for Romney is that he's still clearly in better shape than Newt Gingrich. But the bad news is more important: his favorable rating keeps dropping; only 22% of independents have a positive impression of the former governor; and his national standing is "worse than almost all other recent candidates who went on to win their party's presidential nomination."
If that doesn't make Republicans nervous, they're not paying close enough attention.
Elsewhere in the poll:
* Economic confidence is up -- a 40% plurality believes conditions will improve over the next year -- and slightly more Americans believe the country is finally on the right track;
* Obama's approval rating is up to 50%;
* Obama leads each of his GOP challengers by margins ranging from 6 points (vs. Romney) to 17 points (vs. Gingrich).
* Respondents want a Democratically-controlled Congress, 46% to 41%;
* and supporters of marriage equality now outnumber opponents, 49% to 40%. It's the strongest support for same-sex marriage to date in NBC polling.