As the race for the Republican presidential nomination continues, Mitt Romney is confronted with some good news and some bad news. The good news is, he's the clear frontrunner who just racked up two more wins in Florida and Nevada by large margins.
The bad news is, the more voters see Romney, the less popular he becomes. Consider this tidbit from the new Washington Post/ABC News poll:
Overall, 55 percent of those who are closely following the campaign say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates have been saying. By better than 2 to 1, Americans say the more they learn about Romney, the less they like him. Even among Republicans, as many offer negative as positive assessments of him on this question.
Given the circumstances, it would appear the ongoing GOP race isn't doing the frontrunner any favors. Evidence of Romney's "likability problem" has been building in recent weeks, but these new results are just brutal -- the former governor and his campaign are gearing up for the general election phase, but find the public already souring on Romney's persona.
TPM recently published this chart showing Romney's favorable/unfavorable ratings. It's a little out of date -- it does not, for example, reflect the data from the new Post/ABC poll -- but it's hard to miss that spike in the red line, which points to Romney's unfavorable numbers.
Steve Kornacki recently noted, "[I]t's possible that Romney is simply experiencing the low point that practically every nominee goes through at some point in the primary process."
That may well be the case. It's also possible, though, that a national audience is getting its first good look at Mitt Romney -- his flip-flops, his layoff-driven riches, his out-of-touch gaffes -- and just doesn't find him appealing as a presidential candidate.