Reading the headlines about this CNN/ORC poll, you might mistakenly think its bad news for Romney. A one-point convention bounce isn’t particularly impressive, even if you take into account that a good portion of the American electorate was tuned in to TLC’s “Honey Boo Boo” during Paul Ryan’s speech. But there is actually a whole lot in this poll that’s very encouraging for the Romney campaign, starting with the fact that Romney now leads Obama in the favorable/unfavorable category (a remarkable feat, considering the constant media drumbeat about Obama’s preternatural likability).
Among likely voters, Romney is viewed favorably by 53 percent and unfavorably by 43 percent — a 10-point spread. For Obama, those numbers are 51 percent to 48 percent, respectively.
Romney also leads Obama on the economy (51 percent to 45 percent), leadership (48 percent to 43 percent) and is considered the candidate with an “optimistic vision for this country’s future” (47 percent to 43 percent). Even on Medicare, the issue Democrats see as their biggest trump card, Romney isn’t in terrible shape. He trails Obama by a surmountable three-points (46 percent to 49 percent).
The areas where Romney lags significantly? Empathy. On “understanding women’s issues,” he trails Obama, 36 percent to 56 percent. On being in touch with problems facing the middle class, he’s behind Obama, 43 percent to 49 percent.
But he’s also in far better shape with independent voters and voters over the age of 65, which suggests that Democrats may face an uphill battle with their Mediscare tactics. Among independent voters, a whopping 60 percent view Romney favorably, compared with 32 percent unfavorably. Obama, in contrast, is underwater — 46 percent view him favorably, and 53 percent view him unfavorably.
Among voters over the age of 65, Romney is viewed favorably by 61 percent, and unfavorably by 35 percent. For Obama, those numbers are 44 percent and 54 percent, respectively.