Reuters snap poll: Romney's likeability rises after convention -- but no bounce yet

The good news? Reuters’s pollster thinks the likeability numbers are more important than the actual head-to-head right now. Bounces come and bounces go but if Romney’s made real headway in how the public sees him, that might translate into a decisive shift six weeks from now when people finally start making up their minds.

The bad news? Dude, I’m nervous:

Especially notable was Romney’s boost among independents, 45 percent of whom rated him favorably, compared with Thursday’s 34 percent. Twenty percent of independents found him likeable, up from Thursday’s 16 percent…

Respondents said Romney would be more effective than Obama as president by a margin of 37 percent to 33 percent. The margin was even wider among independents, at 26 percent versus 17 percent.

Romney and Obama remain in a dead heat in most national polls of voting intentions. Friday’s Reuters/Ipsos poll had Romney with a slim one-point lead among likely voters, effectively unchanged from the day before

“It was more important for Romney to create a more positive image,” [Ipsos pollster Julia Clark] said. “Some of these softer metrics, image issues, they contribute to factors like trust that ultimately do sway some people” when time comes to vote.

So, mission accomplished. Mitt set out to use the convention to show America that he’s a good man, and it worked. If only more people had actually watched it:

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan continue to draw smaller TV crowds than the 2008 Republican Party duo of John McCain and Sarah Palin. The grand finale of this year’s Republican National Convention featuring Presidential candidate Romney’s acceptance speech and an introduction by Clint Eastwood drew a total of 25.3 million viewers last night from 10-11 PM on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC. That was down 31% from the final hour of the 2008 GOP convention.

Ratings for Ryan’s VP speech were also way, way, way off what they were in 2008. Why the decline this time? Partly it’s a function of Palin’s star power and the historic nature of her candidacy having driven intense interest in the convention four years ago. Partly it’s because, after years of Bush fatigue, the public was excited and curious about the two new teams battling to replace him. (Note that Biden’s VP speech in 2008 actually topped Ryan’s speech ratings-wise as well.) Partly it’s because, thanks to Obama and his own historic candidacy, it was easier for casual voters to appreciate the significance of the election than it is in a cycle where Mitt Romney’s tax returns are one of the “big issues.” And partly it’s because, I think, a lot of poor suckers really bought the Hopenchange message, to the point where they thought some fresh new way of doing business in D.C. was on the menu. Now they know better and they’re jaded, so they’ve tuned out. Or at least, that’s the theory; if the Democratic convention next week does gangbusters business Nielsen-wise then obviously the GOP’s ratings are a much bigger concern than we think right now.

Exit question: Should they have had Hologram Reagan blow the roof off the joint? Clint Eastwood’s got nothing on the 3-D Gipper, my friends.