This poll of how Obama fares against against the leading Republican candidates- Romney, Palin, Huckabee & Gingrich- for the 2012 nomination is a bracing reality check to those who want to see the back of Obama. Not only does he still lead in all of the states that flipped from Bush in 04 to Obama in 08, against 3 of the 4 candidates he increases his lead- and this is in the middle of his term when little attention is being paid to his opponents and the economy remains dire.
This isn't due to Obama's brilliance, as the mid terms showed he is not wildly popular, but due to the weakness of the field. The strongest GOP candidate is Mitt Romney but his impressive track record in government and business is marred by his ridiculous flip flopping that reveal someone with few actual principles and will reduce him to a laughing stock in an election campaign. Palin has made no effort whatsoever to improve her standing with swing voters in the two years since her Vice Presidential candidacy. Gingrich's unedifying personal life and his track record of imploding will haunt his campaign. As for Huckabee, he has the right personality to be president but his actual policies are abysmal and often quite extreme.
There are other prominent Republicans who could beat Obama, but the nomination will almost certainly come down to one of those four because if someone hasn't carved themselves a niche among the GOP primary electorate by now then they probably won't be able to do it before 2012- so out go dull generic candidates like Tim Pawlenty, John Thune and the much hyped Jon Huntsman. Three candidates might have the profile to generate the enthusiasm and the money to run a successful campaign- Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush- but they have all ruled out running.
So at the moment Obama looks like a very good bet for re-election.
KERRY HARTS NORTHERN IRELAND
1 hour ago