Election Oracle: Romney Trails Obama

As Republicans appear to settle on Mitt Romney as their standard-bearer, talk online about the presumptive nominee is becoming more negative.

Romney now scores below President Obama in favorability rating, which The Daily Beast's Election Oracle determines by analyzing millions of opinions expressed online about the candidates.

Each day the Oracle scours 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to track what's being said about candidates and to determine whether the tone of the conversation is positive or negative. Based on its findings it assigns each candidate a daily favorability rating. (See methodology here.)

Romney led Obama in "favorability rating" for almost all of December, but has trailed in the measure throughout this week. The drop suggests that while his primary foes have little chance of besting him—the Oracle now gives Romney a 62 percent chance of claiming the nomination, based on a combination of favorability ratings, InTrade prediction market and the Real Clear polling averages—they can still hurt him, and that doing so may be the only remaining way to draw attention to their own campaigns.After receiving as many mentions online as the rest of the field combined for the first time on Tuesday, Romney shattered his own record Wednesday as the 80,000 mentions of him were five times the total for all five of his remaining rivals. With all eyes on Romney—Huntsman for example was mentioned less than 3,000 times Wednesday, down 85 percent overnight—take the favorability numbers for the rest of the GOP field with a grain of salt, given the small sample sizes.