As bad as things are for Democrats right now voters still prefer Barack Obama to any of the leading Republicans in the country.
After trailing in one of the hypothetical match ups on our monthly 2012 poll for the first timein January, Obama is back ahead of all the potential 2012 hopefuls. He's up 45-43 on Mitt Romney, 46-43 on Mike Huckabee, 50-43 on Sarah Palin, and 46-28 on John Thune.
For Romney this is his first time flying solo as the closest Republican to Obama. In the previous ten polls Huckabee was the closest nine times and the tenth was a tie between Huckabee and Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor fares the best of the GOP contenders among independents, leading Obama 43-38.
Huckabee falls back behind Obama after leading by a point a month ago. He's the most well liked (maybe least disliked is a better term) of the Republican field among Democrats at a 16/40 spread.
Palin continues to be the weakest of the leading trio of Republicans. Where Romney and Huckabee hold small leads with independents she trails by 10 points. She also loses 14% of the Republican vote to Obama compared to only 10% for Romney and 11% for Huckabee.
Thune is, not surprisingly, little known. Only 16% of respondents offered an opinion of him, far less even than Tim Pawlenty who 36% of voters on our December poll claimed to have a take on. He trails by more than the rest mostly because 37% of Republicans say they would be undecided if he was the nominee.
As for Obama, his approval rating is back in positive territory for the first time in our polling since early December at 48/47. That's largely thanks to 48% approval from independents, up from 43% in mid-January.
Full results here