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Romney gets bump from first full day at Republican convention

TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney’s image received a 5-point bump after the Republican convention’s first day, according to data presented at a Wednesday breakfast sponsored by The Hill at the law offices of Holland & Knight.

Romney had a 43 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable rating in nine battleground states heading into the convention, according to an average compiled by RealClearPolitics.

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A survey conducted by Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research in nine battleground states Tuesday evening found Romney’s favorable rating among likely voters had jumped to 48 percent. His unfavorable rating dipped to 39 percent.

Wilson said the polling data indicated Romney’s image had improved after a day of action at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s speech had the biggest impact of the convention up to that point, according to the poll. Twelve percent of respondents rated Christie’s speech as their favorite, compared to 5 percent who favored Ann Romney’s address. Christie and Romney were the first two prime-time speakers in the GOP convention. 

The survey data were presented at the breakfast by Chris Wilson, CEO of WPA Opinion Research. His firm conducted a poll of 303 likely voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The research found 24 percent of the respondents watched the first speeches of the Tampa convention, which have set the tone for Mitt Romney’s rollout as party standard-bearer. Eighteen percent watched news coverage of the convention

Ann Romney focused on her husband’s sense of humor and ready willingness to help friends and family, while Christie targeted deficit spending.

“Mitt Romney will tell us the hard truths we need to hear, to put this [country] back on a path to growth and create good-paying private-sector jobs again in America,” he said.

Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, said Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has energized conservatives and now Romney’s team is turning its focus to swing voters.

“There wasn’t a lot of red meat. Chris Christie, who you would think would have a close affinity for red meat, didn’t deliver very much of it,” Goldberg said in the panel discussion following the presentation of polling data. “They’re trying to convince those people in the electorate who are convincible to get over their hang-ups about voting for a Republican before getting them to get over their hang-ups about voting for Mitt Romney.”

Goldberg said it explained much of the talk about “humanizing” Romney. 

Barbara Comstock, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates and another member of The Hill’s panel, said President Obama is vulnerable because of his record on business issues.

She said Obama’s plan to raise taxes on joint filers earning over $250,000 a year would affect many technology entrepreneurs.

This story was published at 3:24 pm and has been updated.