The biggest headline from this poll is that Romney increased his total poll numbers by 50% (as noted prviously on this blog) from 10% to 15%. However, I find the favorable/unfavorable trends for the GOP top-three to be the real story . . . and they are good news for Team Mitt!
McCain's "favorables" went DOWN from 39% to 33% and his "unfavorables" went UP from only 20% to 31% while the "undecideds/haven't heard enough" decreased from 41% to 35%.
Giuliani's "favorables" went DOWN from 60% to 53% and his "unfavorables" went UP from only 10% to 18% while the "undecideds/haven't heard enough" stayed pretty stable (decreased from 30% to 28%.)
In contrast Romney's "favorables" went UP from 20% to 28% and his "unfavorables" were fairly stable (slightly up--9% to 11%).
The real story here is that AS his previously huge "undecided's/haven't heard enough" figure of 71% went down to a still very large 60% his favorable/unfavorable percentages broke strongly in his favor (8% higher favorable and 2% higher unfavorable----NET PLUS 6% for Romney compared to a NET MINUS 17% for McCain and a NET MINUS 15% for Giuliani . . . Put another way, Romney GAINED 23% in net favorability on McCain and 21% on Giuliani). Assuming that this postive shift for Romney represents the opinions of the new 11% that no longer were "undecided/haven't heard enough" about him, that would mean that 4 out of 5 of these likely Republican voters formed a favorable view of Romney and only 1 out of 5 formed an unfavorable view of him.
Granted, it's probably not the best assumption to think that this shift is all just from the new 11% people now feeling informed about Romney. Why? By comparison, that would have been a statistically impossible way to explain the negative shift in the "undecided/haven't heard enough" numbers for Giuliani and McCain. The only mathmatically possible explanation for the strong negative shift for these candidates is that A SIGNIFICANT PORTION WHO PREVIOUSLY HAD FAVORABLE OPINIONS OF MCCAIN AND GIULIANI FLIP-FLOPPED ON THEIR OPINION OF THEM. Looks like "flip-flops" may be a bigger problem for Rudy and John than for Mitt, eh?
Now, if that's not over-analysis of one little poll, I don't know what is. Still, I thing that these figures play into team Romney's belief and mantra that "those who come to know Romney almost invariably break his way." His strong move in the early states lends credence to this belief. So, is Romney the political embodiment of the phrase "to know him is to love him?"