Nastiness Reigns in GOP Race

RightWatch: The negative ads that helped Romney win the Florida primary will hurt him in November.

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Overall, he is rated very or somewhat negatively by 36 percent, versus only 31 percent who give him a very or somewhat positive rating. A separate Washington Post/ABC poll showed that Romney's negative ratings among independents had jumped to 51 percent.

Meanwhile, Obama's favorability ratings have been creeping up. As recently as November, Romney was trouncing Obama 47 percent to 34 percent among independents in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Now the president is thumping Romney 44 percent to 36 percent. According to exit polls, 38 percent of those who voted in the Florida GOP primary wish some other candidate were running.

What seems to be happening as Romney slogs his way through the mud to the nomination is that voters are starting to focus on the hard choice they will have to make in November, between two actual candidates. And when they compare the reality of Romney -- a fat cat who has provided little rationale for his candidacy beyond the fact that he's really, really, really rich and has a great haircut -- with Obama, who has in recent months been beating the drums on behalf of the other 99 percent, the president doesn't look so bad.

Jack White keeps an eye on right-wing politics for The Root.

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is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.