Forget the entrenched narrative. Most voters are just tuning in, so the candidates are a blank slate for them.
Narratives can be stubborn things. For most of this election, President Obama has been cast as the more likable candidate, while Mitt Romney has been stereotyped as the candidate likely to pander. But two new polls show that those perceptions may be off-base.
The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it's Romney who has an edge over Obama on personal favorability. Romney's favorable/unfavorable rating is 50/41, an edge over the president's 52/46 score. It's proof that favorability is a volatile data point, especially when it comes to a lesser-known presidential challenger.
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While political junkies are tracking every move of the candidates, most Americans are just beginning to tune in to the campaign coverage, and forming their opinions of Romney. (It's a big reason why Team Obama went up so early with a two-minute ad trying to cast Romney's record at Bain in the most unfavorable light possible.)