Some good news for Obama

It's early still, but a new poll shows the president gaining ground on potential opponents

Published September 24, 2009 7:35PM (EDT)

President Obama can rest a little easier tonight, as a new poll shows him leading potential Republican opponents in 2012.

Yes, of course, that election is three years away, and it's absurdly early to be talking about it, much less polling on it. But this survey -- conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm -- does have some interesting results beyond the topline.

First of all, it does appear that Obama's rebounding after a difficult summer, expanding his lead against the various potential challengers.

And then the performance of those challengers is interesting in and of itself. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee continues to be the strongest performer against Obama, with 41 percent of respondents saying they'd vote for him against 48 percent for Obama. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney does pretty well, too, with 39 percent of respondents opting for him over the same 48 percent for Obama.

But Sarah Palin, until recently the governor of Alaska, is slipping. The percentage of respondents who say they have a favorable opinion of her has fallen to a dismal 37 percent, versus 55 percent who view her unfavorably. And in a general election matchup against Obama, she does worse than a guy who has Bush for a last name. 37 percent of those polled said they'd vote for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush over Obama, who got 50 percent in that particular head-to-head. On the other hand, while 38 percent of respondents did choose Palin over Obama, it seems that her name on the ticket drove an additional three percent to the president.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Barack Obama Jeb Bush Mike Huckabee Mitt Romney Sarah Palin War Room