Obama Leads All Potential Republican Rivals In 2012 Poll

Despite recent dips in his personal approval ratings and the ongoing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, there’s no sign yet that any of the most-talked about Republican candidates in 2012 would beat President Obama:

President Barack Obama holds an edge over each of his potential Republican challengers in 2012, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee runs closer to Obama than any other Republican in the field, taking 44 percent of the vote to the president’s 46 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney trails by a slightly wider margin, taking 42 percent to Obama’s 45 percent.

Huckabee and Romney are at this point the strongest challengers to Obama, according to the national survey of 650 adults.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Obama’s 2008 rival, is the third top opponent for the president, drawing 42 percent support but trailing Obama by 7 percentage points.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the next strongest Republican against Obama, down 8 percentage points to the president. Following were former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was behind 50 percent to 41 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), 46 percent to 36 percent.

The news isn’t all good for the president, because the five potential Republican presidential candidates — McCain is not expected to run again — are viewed more favorably than Obama by independents. Unaffiliated voters view Obama negatively by a 17-percentage-point spread.

Independents also had net negative views of Palin and Gingrich, both by 16 percentage points, and Huckabee, by 5 percentage points. Paul and Romney both had positive net favorability ratings from independent voters.

No real surprise, I think.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    We do not elect people by polls. When the truth about what Obama has done is revealed by his opposition and is seen by the electorate. Both the MSM and Obama will take a hit. Who ever is the Republican nominee with win by a large margin. Similar to what R. Reagan accomplished vis a vis J. Carter. Go to American Thinker blog and read what a shrink thinks is wrong with Obama.

  2. Gerry W. says:

    I do think that Obama’s demeanor is different than most people. It can be a positive in some ways and a hinderance in other ways. Reading the book that James Joyner suggested “Cult-of-the-presidency explains how presidents lose their way in Washington. We tend to elect people who give us more and more in campaign promises and they cannot deliver and we are disappointed. And presidents isolate themselves from the rest of the country.

    Having said that, I can easily analyze Bush. Bush was a far right ideologue. He was also a born again Christian. And a recovering alcoholic. On an economic front, he believed only in his trickle down theory or tax cuts, and ignored most of our problems. Also, he held no curiosity on science. His reliance only on tax cuts shows the laissez-faire that the far right relies on. It is interesting how republicans will do what they can on foreign policy, but when it comes to the economy, ignorance seems to be the policy. Since we saw eight years of this, this explains the republican party and where they stand. All this ignorance has been destroying the middle class. How can one say “free trade is good” when we were losing our jobs? How can one say “stay the course” and run the country into the ground with deficits and debt? How can one say that (Cheney) “deficits don’t matter.” And how can one say “I believe in a higher Authority” in making a decision in going to Iraq, and not having a plan, not having enough troops, and not having the wars paid for?

    Every time I hear a republican call our for God and country (and that is most of the republican front runners) it makes me want to puke. They don’t know what is going on, and with their laissez-faire they just ignore the middle class. And Palin talks of “free market principles” and that means a million different definitions. Today we have one of the widest gaps from the middle class to the rich. So we know something is not working and that is after years of the Bush tax cuts that was supposed to create prosperity. There is no doubt that democrat programs need to be fixed as they are less effective in creating prosperity. But I have heard none to little from republicans but failed ideology.

    There is something wrong with our system of government and elections. It is one disappointment after another. While I do not expect miracles and I do expect a mistake or two, our system elects the worst possible presidents.

    I would prefer an Alan Mulally or a Donald Trump to run our country. They mean what they say and they get it done. Got to love Donald telling his son Barron, “no drugs, no alcohol, and no smoking.”