For the third month in a row our look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race makes it clear that a race between Barack Obama and either Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney would be a tossup at this point in time.
Obama and Romney tie at 44% each. Romney wins independents 45-38 and gets 80% of the Republican vote to Obama's 76% of the Democratic vote.
Obama leads Huckabee just 46-44. He wins independents by a 43-42 margin and would also benefit from a more united party than Obama, getting 82% of Republicans to Obama's 76% of Democrats.
These numbers really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. The polling out there on Obama's approval ratings now shows the country pretty much split between approval and disapproval, and it's a reasonable leap for it to be pretty evenly divided on whether the country would be better off with Obama or a Republican as President.
The Republicans nominating Sarah Palin in 2012 continues to be the Democratic dream scenario. Obama leads her 49-41. Where Romney leads by seven with independents and Huckabee leads by one, Palin has a 14 point disadvantage. Palin does continue to be the best liked of the GOP candidates within the party, as 69% of its voters have a favorable opinion of her compared to 57% for Romney and 55% for Huckabee.
Mitch Daniels was the 'wild card' on this poll and as you might expect voters aren't particularly familiar with him. 74% say they have no opinion of him, and he trails Obama 45-34.
There are a couple ways you can look at these numbers. Obviously Obama's position is much weaker than it was in November of 2008. There's no way he would win a Presidential race by seven points today. There's a positive way to look at it though as well- even in a political climate for Democrats that's about as bad as it can get, losing in Massachusetts bad, Obama is still running even. That bodes well for him assuming that 2010 does represent a low point for the Democratic brand and things are at least somewhat better come 2012.
Full results here