The survey, conducted Wednesday through Sunday (Feb. 15-19), shows the percentage of Republicans with a favorable view of Romney rising seven points since a low ebb after his defeat in the South Carolina primary in January. At this point, almost two-thirds of Republicans have a favorable view of the former Massachusetts governor, the Post-ABC poll found – roughly the same level as former Sen. Rich Santorum of Pennsylvania, currently Romney’s closest rival for the nomination.
By contrast, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has seen his favorability plummet, with fewer than half of the Republicans in the survey voicing a positive view of him.
Santorum remains more popular than Romney among those Republicans and independents who consider themselves to be “very conservative.” But even there, Romney’s ratings have risen. In mid-January, fewer than half of the people in the very conservative camp said they viewed Romney favorably, but in the latest survey, 62% did. For Santorum, the favorable percentage was 74%. Gingrich was just barely above half, at 51%.
The big element dragging down Gingrich’s favorability ratings in this poll and others are the views of women. Back in December, 65% of Republican women said they had a favorable view of him. That number fell to 52% in January and stood at 37% in the latest poll. By contrast, 54% of Republican men viewed him favorably.
The Post-ABC poll surveyed 1,012 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.