With his approval numbers hitting new lows it's no surprise that Barack Obama's numbers in our monthly look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race are their worst ever this month. He trails Mitt Romney 46-43, Mike Huckabee 47-45, Newt Gingrich 46-45, and is even tied with Sarah Palin at 46. The only person tested he leads is Jan Brewer, who doesn't have particularly high name recognition on the national level at this point.
It's not that any of the Republican candidates are particularly well liked. Only Huckabee has positive favorability numbers at 37/28. Romney's at 32/33, Gingrich at 32/42, Palin at 37/52, and Brewer at 17/20. But with a majority of Americans now disapproving of Obama it's no surprise that a large chunk of them would replace him as President if they had that choice today.
There are two things driving these strong poll numbers for the Republican candidates. The first is a lead with independents in every match up. Romney leads 48-35 with them, Gingrich is up 50-39, Huckabee has a 46-40 advantage, Palin's up 47-42, and even Brewer has a 38-37 edge.
The other thing causing the Republicans to do so well is that their party is unified around them to an equal or even greater extent than Democrats are around Obama. Huckabee's getting 85% of the Republican vote to Obama's 82% of the Democrats, Romney's at 82% in his party to Obama's 80%, Gingrich and Obama are each getting 83% of their party vote, and Palin and Obama are each getting 81% of theirs.
Obviously 2012 is a long ways off and the immediate relevance of these numbers is limited. It's possible we'll look back on polls like this 28 months from now after Obama's been reelected and laugh. But it's also possible that we'll look back on the summer of 2010 after he's been defeated and see it as the time when his prospects for reelection really took a turn for the worse. For now there's really no way to tell.
Full results here