Mitt Romney improves likability rating as presidential race remains tight

After months of criticism for his supposed likability problem, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is now viewed favorably by a majority of likely voters, according to a Politico/George Washington University poll released on Monday.

In the survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted between Oct. 7 and 11, 51 percent of respondents said they view Romney favorably, and 44 percent said they view him unfavorably. In the spring, as Romney emerged from a bruising GOP primary, his favorability rating was often in the 30s.

The improvement means Romney is closing the likability gap between himself and President Obama. In the Politico/George Washington poll, 53 percent of likely voters had a favorable opinion of Obama, while 45 percent viewed the president unfavorably.

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Romney and Obama were essentially tied in the race for the White House, with 49 percent saying they support the president and 48 percent backing Romney. In 10 battleground states, Romney led Obama, 50-48. Both results were within the poll’s 3.1-point margin of error.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll also published on Monday showed a similarly tight race. That survey gave Obama a 3-point edge among likely voters nationwide, 49 percent to 46 percent—again, within the margin of error.

On managing the economy, the number-one issue in the campaign, Obama led Romney, 48-47.