Although Romney’s favorable rating is improved, it ranks among the lowest for recent nominees in the first Gallup poll conducted after they wrapped up the presidential nomination. Gallup has tracked favorable ratings of presidential candidates using the current question format since 1992. Only Bill Clinton, at 38% in March 1992, had a lower favorable rating than Romney currently does, partly because Clinton was still unfamiliar to a substantial minority of Americans (23%) after wrapping up the 1992 Democratic nomination. Clinton’s rating improved in the months that followed as he became better known, reaching 50% in May.

John Kerry (60%) and Bob Dole (57%), who — like Romney and Clinton — faced incumbent presidents in the election, had higher favorable ratings after they became the presumptive nominees for their respective parties.