In a new CNN/Opinion Research poll released this morning, President Barack Obama trails the two putative leaders for the GOP 2012 presidential nomination. He trails former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee by 52-44 and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by 50-45. Those are troubling numbers so soon into the still fluid 2012 race, because both of the two top GOP hopefuls are already hitting 50% figures. Against Sarah Palin however, Obama would win 52-44.
You have to dig a little into the CNN.com article to find the numbers, as the piece initially sounds as if Obama’s sitting well for 2012, then starts off the matchup discussions with the numbers versus Palin.
In a possible general election showdown, Obama leads Palin 52-44 percent among all registered voters.
"Looking ahead to 2012, it may be too early to count Barack Obama out, particularly if Sarah Palin is his opponent," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The former Alaska governor gets a lot of attention, but she is in third place when Republicans are asked to pick a presidential nominee, and in a hypothetical matchup with Obama she is arguably the weakest candidate of the top-tier GOP hopefuls."
In a hypothetical 2012 matchup, Huckabee leads Obama 52-44 percent, while Romney has a 50-45 point advantage, which is within the poll's sampling error. Obama holds a 49-47 percent margin over Gingrich.
The poll, conducted prior to Tuesday’s midterm elections, may have some sampling bias issues. Of the registered voters sampled, 500 identified themselves as Republican or leaning Republican and 453 as Democrats or leaning Democrat. That’s probably oversampling Republicans a bit, so the gaudy numbers of Obama vs Huckabee and Obama vs Romney are probably a little too rosy for the GOP. But by the same token, if they are oversampling the GOP, it shows just how steep the hill is for Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.
And given the sour mood of the electorate just before the election, these results may simply reflect an attitude of “Anybody BUT Barack Obama, EXCEPT Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.”
We’ll see. The fluidity of the 2012 candidate pool will start to solidify right after Christmas.