ANALYSIS: Mitt Romney's not just treading water, he's underwater when it comes to personal favorability as the clock ticks down to Election Day.
According to the results of a new ABC News-Washington Post poll out this morning, 40 percent of Americans view Romney favorably while 49 percent unfavorably. That means Romney has been "underwater" in 10 consecutive polls this year.
What's more, while the the presumptive Republican nominee's favorables have ticked up by 7 percentage points this year, his unfavorable score is up more than double that -- 18 points.
"Mitt Romney is laboring under the lowest personal popularity ratings for a presumptive presidential nominee in midsummer election-year polls back to 1984," according to ABC News Pollster Gary Langer. President Obama, on the other hand, gets more positive ratings. He is seen favorably by 53 percent of American adults and unfavorably by 43 percent.
Langer notes, "Obama's advantage rests with women, among whom 58 percent see him favorably, vs. 47 percent of men -- the widest gender gap in this measure of the season.
But the real problem for Romney may be among independents. According to the new poll:
--Obama's gained back ground he'd lost among independents. In late May he fell numerically underwater among independents for the first time since December (45-52 percent favorable-unfavorable). He's now back far in front of Romney in this group, largely because of gains among independent women.
--Among all independents, Obama's favorability rating is now 16 points higher than Romney's (53 percent vs. 37 percent). At the same time, that narrows among independents who are registered to vote - 46 percent favorable for Obama, 38 percent for Romney.