Voters in Iowa were souring on Mitt Romney before his decision Friday not to run for president in 2016, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll.

Since October, the percentage of likely Republican caucus-goers who viewed Romney unfavorably had risen from 30 percent to 40 percent. Sixty-five percent viewed him favorably in October, while 57 percent viewed him favorably in January.

Caucus-goers were split on whether Romney’s failed bid in 2012 should disqualify him from a third White House run.


Forty-five percent said they agreed with the statement, “He has run for president twice and failed. He should stay out of the race,” while 47 percent agreed with the statement, “Because he has run for president before, even though he failed, he will be a better candidate and should get into the race.”

Fifty-four percent of caucus-goers said the former Massachusetts governor's 2012 candidacy and his loss by a wide margin was either a “deal-killer” or something they would have had to consider before voting for him again. Forty-four percent said they did not view it as a problem.

On five issues, the Iowa voters did express more confidence in Romney than former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is moving toward a 2016 presidential bid.

Fifty-eight percent said Romney would be better at creating new jobs, while just 14 percent said Bush would be better.

Forty-nine percent said Romney was betting at having a vision, as opposed to the 22 percent who said that Bush would do better at setting a course for the future.

Romney also fared better than Bush when voters were asked who would do a better job combatting terrorism, understanding "people like you" and beating former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey MORE in the general  election.

The poll had a sample of 401 Democratic voters and 402 Republican voters who are definitely or probably going to participate in the Iowa caucuses in 2016, and a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points for the entire sample.

The margin of error for the smaller sample of only Republicans was likely larger. The poll was conducted from Jan. 26-29.

Romney said Friday that would not mount a bid for the presidency because it was time to “give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”

That announcement followed weeks of speculation that begin with Romney telling a room of donors earlier this month that he was considering a run. It wasn’t clear if donors from his 2012 bid would stick with him or defect to another candidate, most notably Bush.

On Thursday, Romney’s top Iowa operative from the last race departed to join Bush’s emerging campaign.