Poll: Romney’s Favorability Surpasses Santorum, Paul

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney’s basic popularity looks more positive after his eight-vote win over Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses, while perceptions of Ron Paul are clearly negative for the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polling.

As the New Hampshire primary kicks off on Tuesday, 39 percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Romney, while 34 percent hold an unfavorable one -- numerically Romney's best net positive score in ABC/Post polling since September.  Paul, on the other hand, is seen favorably by 31 percent, but unfavorably by 38 percent -- his most negative gap.

Santorum, the other top scorer in Iowa, gets a more even split but a numerically negative one -- 27 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable.  Many more adults, 44 percent, have yet to form an opinion of him one way or another.

These ratings could prove important because favorability is the most basic measure of a public figure’s popularity; an overall positive rating is a key indicator of broad acceptability.  This national survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, tests the candidates beyond the confines of Iowa, where, out of about 122,000 caucus-goers, Romney and Santorum essentially tied, and Paul came in third.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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