Everyone is catching on today to a new Bloomberg poll's finding that former President George W. Bush is viewed more positively than Mitt Romney, which would seem to be another sign that Romney is having trouble connecting with the American electorate.
But the contrast probably reveals more about Bush's softening image outside of the political spotlight than about Romney's image.
Make no mistake: Romney's image has been a problem for him throughout the campaign. He is the least popular nominee of any presidential candidate since the Pew Research Center started measuring the ratings in 1988.
But Bush — one of the least popular presidents in history — has the benefit of having been away from politics and partisan bickering over most of the past four years. In 2010, Gallup found that his favorability rating had risen 12 points in his first two years out of office.
What really matters in the new Bloomberg poll is the contrast between Romney and President Barack Obama's favorability ratings, which have presented a constant challenge for Romney throughout the general election. Obama has a positive-8 net-favorability rating, while Romney is 7 points underwater.
That helps contribute to the answer to another question that has plagued Romney in polling: "Who do you think will do more to help the middle class?" In this poll, 49 percent say Obama, while only 44 percent choose Romney.
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