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NBC/WSJ poll: Romney's image improves but remains a net-negative

 

Since emerging as the Republican Party's presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney has seen his favorability score increase to its highest mark, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But that score still remains a net-negative, and it trails President Obama's.

In the poll, 33% view Romney positively -- which is higher than it has ever been in the survey -- versus 36% who view him negatively. That's an improvement from March, when his score was 28% positive-39% negative.

Much of this can be attributed to Republicans who have begun to coalesce around Romney. In March, his score with them was 50%-16%; now it's 62%-12%.

By comparison, Obama's positive/negative score is 48%-39%, and those numbers have been fairly consistent over the past two years.

Looking inside these numbers, two other things stand out:
-- The gender gap is helping Obama: His positive/negative score is even among men (44%-42%), but he has a big advantage with women (51%-37%).
-- There isn't much of a gender gap for Romney (both men and women view him pretty evenly), but his big gap is with Latinos (23%-42% vs. Obama's 57%-26%).

A final point: Both Romney and Obama aren't as popular as their wives. Ann Romney's positive/negative score in the poll is 27%-17%, and First Lady Michelle Obama's is 54%-20%.

The full NBC/WSJ poll -- which was conducted April 13-17 of 1,000 respondents (250 of which were reached by cell phone), and which it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points -- will be released at 6:30 pm ET.