Now that Mitt Romney has finally clinched the Republican nomination, the party appears to be rallying around him, boosting his favorable numbers, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll. Romney's favorable rating still trails President Obama's, but the 52%-41% gap is much closer than last month's 56%-35%. Independents are about evenly divided on both Obama and Romney, which for Romney is an improvement, as this is the first time since January independents have not viewed him unfavorably.
The change is most dramatic among Republican women, who have increased their favorable rating of Romney to 80%, up from 59% last month. "There was never any real question about whether Republican women would come around," says a GOP pollster. "The real question is whether independents will come around in sufficient margins for Governor Romney to win." Although overall support for both Romney and Obama from their party is similar, Obama far outguns Romney went it comes to enthusiasm, with 65% of Democrats "strongly favorable" to the president versus just 35% of Republicans who feel that way about their nominee. (Read more Washington Post ABC poll stories.)