Barack Obama would easily take Nevada if he had to stand for reelection today...unless the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney. Obama has early double digit advantages against Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin in the state but has just a single point edge over Romney.
Nevada is one of the few swing states we've polled in the last couple months where more voters approve (50%) than disapprove (46%) of Obama. Like everywhere else in the country Democrats are largely happy with him and Republicans are most unhappy- what sets apart his numbers in Nevada is his popularity with independents, 55% of whom approve of him with 41% disapproving.
Independents in the state may like Obama but they like Romney even more, giving him a 58/28 favorability rating. That's quite a contrast to how they feel about other the leading Republican contenders in the state. Huckabee's favorability with them is 38/50, Palin's is 28/61, and Gingrich actually occupies the basement in this state at 26/65.
Obama's lead over Romney is 47/46. That goes up to 10 points over Huckabee at 50/40, 11 over Gingrich at 51/40, and 13 over Palin at 52/39. Independents explain most of the difference between how Romney does compared to the rest of the Republicans here as well. Obama dominates most of the Republican field with them- a 22 point lead over Palin, a 23 point one over Huckabee, and a 27 point one over Gingrich. But Romney actually has an 11 point lead over Obama with them and that's the reason he's running neck and neck overall.
Of the battleground states where we've polled 2012 so far, Nevada has the biggest disparity in the GOP's chances of winning depending on who their nominee is. The only other state where there was greater than a 5 point difference between how one Republican did and the rest of them was Michigan, where Romney came to within 4 points of Obama with Huckabee the next closest at 12 points.
Given the direction the state is headed in, it may be a long time before a Republican wins Nevada in a race that's competitive nationally- it may go red only in instances where it's a GOP landslide across the country. The Senate race this year showed that Republicans have to be very careful about who they nominate if they want to win in Nevada and recent history doesn't suggest that's something they're particularly inclined to do.
Full results here