Politico hears the murmers in the Beltway, “under the table, there is pervasive pessimism among Republicans about Romney’s prospects this fall. It’s apparent in rampant discussions about which Republicans will run in 2016 – talk that obviously presupposes a loss in November – and it’s downright glaring in private conversations with GOP officials on Capitol Hill and in consulting shops across Washington.”
“And the skepticism about Romney isn’t just a Beltway phenomenon. Rank-and-file Republican voters are also uncertain he can win, though it’s the chattering class that is most bearish.”
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight at the NYT reports on the Romney vs Obama contest angle only. They made a handy graph showing Romney’s favorability numbers stacked up (37% unfavorable over 26% favorable) against other campaigns, with even mid-election losers John Kerry, George Bush, Sr. and Bob Dole top him in favorability during the same January-June polling period.
That spells trouble for Romney, “these early-stage favorability ratings have had a mixed track record as a predictor of election outcomes. The candidate with the better net-favorable rating in the early-going won the election in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1996, and 2008. But Mr. Clinton won the election in 1992, despite making a poor first impression on voters. On the flip side, Michael Dukakis had very promising favorability numbers early in the 1988 cycle, but they deteriorated over the course of the election cycle and he took a clear defeat. (I’m not sure where you’d classify the 2000 election because of the split between the popular vote and the Electoral College, or 2004 since George W. Bush and John Kerry had essentially the same net favorability rating in the early going.)”
DISCLAIMER: polls are for entertainment purposes only, here and everywhere else.