Earlier this week, DCDecoder wrote about the Republican establishment’s opposition to Newt Gingrich, and the widely held Beltway belief that he would be “unelectable” in a general election. The evidence repeatedly used to back this assertion up is that Gingrich has both high name recognition and high unfavorable ratings - and that it’s hard to change that kind of public image.
As we noted, one problem with this line of attack is that rank-and-file GOP voters clearly have a different view of what constitutes electability.
And now it turns out, Gingrich’s favorability ratings aren’t actually any worse than Romney’s. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll out Tuesday, Mitt Romney’s unfavorable rating has skyrocketed to an all-time high of 49 percent, with his favorable rating hitting a new low of 31 percent. Those numbers are not substantially different than Gingrich’s: Newt came in at 51 percent unfavorable (a scant two points higher than Mitt) and 29 percent favorable (again, just a two point difference).
Both men are behind President Obama, who comes in at 43 percent unfavorable and 53 percent favorable.
As pollster Gary Langer notes:
“The sharpest shifts have been among independents. Unfavorable opinions of Romney have soared by 17 points in this group since Jan. 8, to 51 percent; favorable opinions have dropped by 18 points among independents in the same period, to just 23 percent. Gingrich, for his part, has lost 11 points among independents since December, to 22 percent favorability. Obama, by contrast, gets a 51 percent favorable rating from independents.”
None of this is to say that Gingrich might or might not be a toxic general election candidate. But to call him less electable than Romney based purely on a comparison of the two men’s favorability ratings is no longer accurate.
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