Romney's 42% support in the final 2012 nomination preference poll ranks among the lowest Gallup has measured for a nominee in its final poll since 1972, when the McGovern-Fraser reforms shifted power for choosing the nominee to voters in primaries and caucuses rather than party leaders at the national conventions.Those are some pretty amazing numbers. As you can see from the chart, the average Republican nominee has had 62 percent support upon clinching the nomination—20 points higher than Mitt Romney. And it's not like he was up against some sort of super strong rival: Rick Santorum was barely above average in terms of support, yet Romney still couldn't really put him away with any sort of authority.
Specifically, no other Republican winner in the primary era has had as little as 42% support in Gallup's final measure of nomination preferences, with George W. Bush's 57% in 2000 the lowest before now.
I'm sure we'll get a lot of spin from Republicans about how it really doesn't matter that Mitt Romney is so unpopular within his own party because Republicans hate Obama so much they'll vote for Romney anyway. Maybe that's true, but that's going to take a whole lot of hate. And if Mitt Romney can't even get his base to like him, how in the world is he going to win over enough swing voters to win the election?