According to the most recent Fox News poll, not only does President Barack Obama lead every single potential Republican 2012 candidate who is hypothetically matched up against him, but shockingly Americans didn’t think that a single potential 2012 Republican hopeful would make a good president. Mike Huckabee did the best at 34%, followed by Mitt Romney (33%), and Sarah Palin (23%).
The Fox News poll found that much like his approval ratings, President Obama’s political fortunes are also on the upswing when it comes to potential 2012 political matchups. Obama now leads Mitt Romney 48%-41%. The President leads Mike Huckabee 49%-41%. Obama absolutely crushes Newt Gingrich (55%-35%) and Sarah Palin (56%-35%). Obama also blows out a man that many Republicans are dreaming would run against him, Jeb Bush. The President would blow out Jeb Bush, 54%-34%.
The Republican candidates fared even worse when the respondents were asked if each of them would make a good president. 55% of Republicans thought that Mike Huckabee would make a good president, but only 34% of Americans thought the same. 54% of Republicans thought Mitt Romney would make a good president, but only 33% Americans agreed. Only 43% of Republicans thought Newt Gingrich would make a good president, and 23% of America felt the same way. As for Sarah Palin, 40% of Republicans thought that she would make a good president, and just 23% of Americans agreed.
Several candidates who many Republicans are pining for in 2012 were also included in the poll. 39% of Republicans believed that Jeb Bush would make a good president, but only 21% of Americans shared their support for Bush. For Chris Christie, 29% of Republicans believed he would be a good president, and 18% of all Americans agreed. 55% of America has never heard of John Huntsman, but only 6% of them and 10% of Republicans thought that he would be a good president.
I can’t recall ever seeing a poll where the dissatisfaction with a group of political candidates was this high less than a year before the nominating process begins. This potential Republican 2012 field is so lackluster that it rivals the infamous 1988 Democratic field composed of Mike Dukakis, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Gary Hart, Bruce Babbit and Joe Biden for the dubious honor of being the worst group of modern era primary candidates ever put together.
What is most striking about this poll is the apathy that Republicans are feeling for their own potential 2012 candidates. The top candidates in the poll could not garner the confidence of 60% of the respondents in their own party. Almost 1/3 of the Republicans polled didn’t think that Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney would make a good president. The poll wasn’t discussing support, but simply how Republicans assessed each of the candidates’ potential presidential capabilities.
Republicans may be down on their candidates, but they aren’t as down as the nation as a whole on the potential 2012 GOP field. It is critical that none of these candidates’ presidential prospects were thought of favorably by more than 34% of Independents. If Republicans are going to have any chance against Obama, they need the support of Independents.
The nightmare scenario for the Republican Party is that Sarah Palin is somehow able to convert her personal popularity into enough primary support to win the nomination. Despite the fact that only 40% of Republicans said that she would make a good president, Palin enjoys the highest personal approval ratings with her fellow Republicans of anyone in the party. As the nominee, she would be a disaster for the GOP. Only 25% of Independents and 7% of Democrats think that she would make a good president. She would only win the support of the hard core GOP, and would lose to Obama by 20+ points.
President Obama should not take anything for granted, but the potential 2012 Republican field looks even worse than the 2008 group. The Republicans have no reliable safety candidate that they can hand the nomination to by default. There is no John McCain in this field. We are less than a year away from the Iowa caucuses and America is delivering the message that the current list of potential 2012 Republican candidates sucks.