It's not just the dog: assuming he's the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney will go into the election with more people viewing him unfavorably than favorably.

To be fair, the ABC News/Washington Post poll, which was released today, has only been around for 28 years. Who knows how much America hated presidential nominees before that?

According to the poll, 35 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of Mitt Romney, while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. That looks even worse when you compare his numbers to Barack Obama's.

Romney trails President Obama in favorability – akin to personal popularity, not job approval – by 21 percentage points, 56 percent to 35 percent. Among women, Romney is seen favorably by just 27 percent, while 44 percent of men see him favorably.

But how much do these numbers really mean?

Well, not a lot, necessarily. Among registered voters, Romney is a lot more popular — 40 percent favorable to 47 percent unfavorable. (OK, not great, but significantly less depressing.) And as this article points out, a Gallup poll has Romney narrowly ahead of Obama, 47 to 45, which is within the margin of error. That poll didn't measure likability, but it does suggest a much closer race in November.

[Image via AP]