Partisans love to hate President Obama and Mitt Romney
More than eight in 10 Republicans view President Obama unfavorably, while a similar number of Democrats see former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in an negative light, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The numbers are just the latest sign of the deep partisan divide gripping the 2012 presidential race.
Eighty-four percent of Republicans view Obama unfavorably, while 80 percent of Democrats feel the same about Romney. Those are among the highest numbers ever measured for the opposing candidates in Post-ABC polling, far outdistancing all but how Republicans viewed Bill Clinton in 1996 (78 percent unfavorable) and how Democrats saw George W. Bush in 2004 (76 percent unfavorable).
Here’s a full chart detailing how the opposite party has felt about the presidential nominees dating back to 1988:
The partisan polarization is even bigger than it appears on its face — particularly in regards to how Republicans regard (or don’t) Obama, with 70 percent of GOPers seeing him in a strongly unfavorable light.
The numbers also aren’t great for Romney among Democrats — 57 percent view him very unfavorably — but when compared to Obama, the former Massachusetts governor looks downright popular among members of the opposition party.
Given the tone of the campaign thus far, those numbers are not at all surprising. But what they do tell us is that partisans are more entrenched in their respective camps earlier than ever before — and motivation on either side shouldn’t be any problem for Democrats or Republicans.
The bigger problem may well not be in the campaign but in its aftermath, as the deeply unfavorable views that partisans feel towards the candidate of the opposite party aren’t likely to go away no matter who wins — and cloud an already-difficult post-election phase with the “fiscal cliff” rapidly approaching.
The Post-ABC poll was conducted Aug. 1-5 among 1,026 adults on both conventional and cellular phones. The margin of error for the overall results is plus or minus four percentage points; it’s seven points for results among Republicans and 7.5 points for results among Democrats. Full interactive results and breakdowns available
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