[Obama] leads Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, and Sarah Palin by anywhere from 7-15 points in hypothetical 2012 contests.
Huckabee comes the closest, trailing Obama 48-41. In the six months PPP has run this poll he has been the most competitive Republican every time. Obama’s lead has increased from 47-44 over the former Arkansas Governor a month ago.
Mitt Romney does next best, down 48-39. In some ways he looks like a stronger general candidate than a primary one though. He has the best favorability of the GOP quartet with Democrats and independents, but only 50% of Republicans have a positive opinion of him compared to 70% for Mike Huckabee and 69% for Sarah Palin. Will he be able to connect well enough with the GOP base to snag the nomination?
It’s safe to say that the country is not ready for another Bush. Only 22% of respondents said they had a favorable opinion of Jeb, with 45% saying it was unfavorable. Even Palin’s numbers are better with Democrats and independents than his. He trails Obama 50-37 in a potential contest. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bush brand is permanently damaged or if the family can make a comeback in the future, but it seems safe to say that won’t be likely in the next few years.
And finally Sarah Palin polls the worst against Obama, and her numbers have been getting progressively worse over the last couple months. Her favorability peaked in our polling at 47/45 in the middle of July, then dropped to 40/49 in August, and now 37/55 in September. Hard to say why she’s seeing so much droppage during a period when she’s been mostly out of the public eye but it all adds up to her trailing Obama 53-38.
The most signifcant numbers are these — Among the general public, Sarah Palin’s popularity rating is 55% unfavorable to 37% unfavorable; among liberals it’s 81% unfavorable, 15% favorable; among moderates it’s 71% unfavorable to 20% favorable; among conservatives it’s 69% favorable to 22% unfavorable; among Democrats it’s 80% unfavorable to 12% favorable; among independents it’s 59% unfavorable to 33% favorable; among Republicans it’s 69% favorable to 22% unfavorable.
It’s entirely possible that, in 2012, the Republican Party could nominate the one candidate who has absolutely no chance of winning.