Rick Perry is looking increasingly like the Republican favorite for President- he led in the Iowa poll we released this morning and he leads by double digits in the national poll we'll release tomorrow. The biggest beneficiary of Perry's rise? It might be Barack Obama.
In our first national poll pitting the two Obama leads Perry 49-43. That six point advantage is pretty comparable to Obama's margin of victory over John McCain. Perry has certainly come on strong with Republicans but independents view him negatively already by an almost 2:1 margin, 29/55, and Democrats pretty universally give him bad ratings at a 10/71 spread. As a result Obama leads Perry thanks in large part to a 24 point advantage with independents at 56-32.
It's a different story for Obama when it comes to the match up against Romney. There he can only achieve a tie at 45%, and because there are a lot more undecided Republicans than Democrats in all likelihood Romney would come out ahead if voters had to go to the polls and really make a decision today. Romney does better than Perry because he holds Obama to only a 9 point advantage with independents, 48-39, and because he loses only 5% of the Republican vote to Obama where Perry loses 10%.
None of the rest of the Republican hopefuls even fare as well as Perry. Obama leads Michele Bachmann by 8 points at 50-42, Herman Cain by 10 points at 49-39, and Sarah Palin by 13 points at 53-40. This poll is more confirmation of what's become a broad trend in our polling- against Romney Obama faces a toss up and against anyone else he's in decent shape for reelection.
One big reason Obama's doing pretty well in these match ups is the Hispanic vote. Exit polls in 2008 showed him winning it by a 36 point margin over McCain but he builds on that in all of these match ups with a 37 point advantage over Romney at 66-29, a 46 point one over Perry at 72-26, a 48 point edge over Bachmann at 74-26, a 49 point lead on Palin at 74-25, and a 53 point spread on Herman Cain at 75-22. This is a good example of what Republican strategist Mike Murphy has described as the economics vs. demographics tension for next year's election. The economy could sink Obama but at the same time an ever growing expanding Hispanic vote that he wins by a huge margin could be enough to let him eek out a second term. It's certainly propping him up on this poll.
Full results here