A new poll released by Public Policy Polling today revealed that if he was up for reelection today, President Obama would at worst win by the same margin as 2008, if not more. Obama currently leads Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, and Sarah Palin by 7-15 points. Huckabee came the closest to Obama, while Sarah Palin did the worst.
According to Public Policy Polling, on a month to month basis, Huckabee has been the most competitive Republican against Obama who led the former Arkansas governor 47%-44% last month. The president has expanded his lead to 48%-41% this month. Interestingly, Huckabee has the look of a candidate who will fare better in a primary, than he would in a general election, as he has a 70% approval rating among Republicans.
The opposite is true of Mitt Romney, who would likely be a better general election candidate against Obama, but struggles with the Republican base due to his inconsistent policy positions, and his Mormon faith. Romney currently trails Obama 48%-39%, but he has the highest favorable ratings of any of the Republicans with Democrats and Independents. The problem for Romney is his 50% approval rating within the GOP.
Jeb Bush is a name that has been floated around as a potential name for 2012, but on 22% of respondents had a positive view of Jeb. It is obvious that George W. damaged the family brand so much that Jeb has no chance in 2012. The other Bush brother currently trails Obama by thirteen points, 50%-37%.
Bringing up the rear, we have Sarah Palin. As usual, Palin got high marks from Republicans to the tune of a 69% approval rating, but she trails Obama by fifteen points, 53%-38%. Palin’s numbers have gotten worse since she resigned as Alaska governor. Her overall approval rating has gone from 47% in July to 37% in September. Palin has been keeping a lower profile lately, yet her numbers continue to drop. She remains a darling of the right that has no appeal to Independents or Democrats.
What can be taken from this is all of the media pronouncements that President Obama’s popularity has decreased, or that Obama is in decline, are completely overblown. This president would have little trouble handling the current top Republican challengers for 2012. The GOP appears to have two candidates, Huckabee and Palin, who appeal to primary voters, and one candidate, Romney, who would fare better in a general, but probably won’t survive the primaries.
As the Republican Party moves more the right, they are running the risk of nominating a candidate like Palin or Huckabee that has limited appeal to Independents and Democrats. A Palin nomination could be a disaster for the GOP, because she mobilizing not only Republicans, but also Democrats. Palin is so unpopular that she will send voters into the waiting arms of Obama. Overall, it would seem that Obama has little to worry about from this group of challengers.