Barack Obama would win Iowa again if he had to stand for reelection today, although Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney would both give him a more competitive contest than John McCain did in 2008.
Obama is reasonably popular in the state with 50% of voters approving of his job performance to 43% who disapprove. Democrats (87%) are pretty universal in their approval of him while Republicans (82%) are pretty unanimous in their disapproval. Breaking the tie is his numbers with independents, 49% of whom give him good marks to 40% who are unhappy with the job he's doing.
Obama won the state by 9 points in 2008. Against Huckabee he leads by only 4 points, 47-43, and against Romney it's just a 6 point advantage, 47-41. He would win in more dominant fashion against Newt Gingrich who he leads by 13 points at 51-38 and against Sarah Palin who he expands the gap to 16 points against at 53-37.
The nation's eyes will be on Iowa Republicans over the next year for what they might tell us about who will end up winning the party's nomination for President. What might have been more interesting on this poll though is what the GOP voters tell us about the fall. Obama will benefit next year from a Democratic Party that is strongly unified around him- he gets 90% of the party vote against Gingrich, 89% against Huckabee, 91% against Palin, and 86% against Romney. Republican voters in Iowa meanwhile seem somewhat reticent about supporting their leading contenders in the general election- Gingrich gets 73% of Republicans, Huckabee 79%, Palin 67%, and Romney 76%.
Those numbers are somewhat consistent with what we're seeing across the country and indicative of a Republican base that's not particularly sold on the current top crop of candidates. The GOP nominee may end up needing to be 'none of the above' for the party to take back Bush/Obama states such as Iowa.
Only Huckabee out of the Republican contenders musters a positive favorability rating in the state. 42% have a positive opinion of him to 39% with a negative one. The rest of the GOPers run the spectrum from slightly unpopular (Mitt Romney at 37/42) to very unpopular (Newt Gingrich at 30/49) to exceptionally unpopular (Sarah Palin at 34/59.)
When you combine Obama's relative popularity in the state with the GOP field's lack of appeal, it looks like things are going to have to get a lot worse for the President over the next 22 months to send Iowa back into the red column.
Full results here