While the 2012 presidential election is still over a year away, and poll results are questionable this far out, a new Gallup poll has President Barack Obama in a tight competition with his most prominent GOP rivals, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Respondents were asked, “Suppose the presidential election were held today. If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party’s candidate and _______ were the Republican Party’s candidate, who would you vote for—Barack Obama, the Democrat, or _______, the Republican?
Among registered voters, Romney led Obama by two percentage points (48 to 46 percent). The poll revealed Obama and Perry to be even at 47 percent. Paul trailed the president by two points (47 to 45 percent), while Michele Bachmann trailed Obama by four percentage points (48 to 44 percent).
With regard to party affiliation, members of both parties maintained loyalty to their respective party candidates. Democrats were consistent, preferring Obama 84–86 percent of the time, regardless of the GOP candidate, while Republican voters showed a strong preference for Perry (92 percent when matched up with Obama) and Romney (91 percent), with somewhat less support for Paul (82 percent) and Bachmann (86 percent).
Independents, who are usually crucial in the general election, were slightly in favor of Romney (47 to 44 percent), Perry (46 to 44 percent), and Paul (46 to 43 percent) over the president, but were slightly less supportive of Bachmann. She trailed the president 42 to 48 percent.
The survey was based on telephone interviews on Aug. 17 and 18, with a random sample of 1,026 adults living in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.
In a sign of more trouble for the president, amidst a shaky economic recovery, a volatile stock market, and fears of a double-dip recession, Obama’s job-approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 38 percent, according to Gallup. However, a higher percentage of Americans say they would vote for him in 2012 than currently approve of the job he is doing, perhaps suggesting that there is yet to be a clear GOP front-runner.
Meanwhile, Perry, the latest major GOP candidate to enter the race, rose in recognition rating among Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents nationwide, gaining an impressive 13 percentage points in two weeks, from 54 percent to 67 percent. Nevertheless, Perry still trails six other GOP candidates or potential candidates in name recognition, including Sarah Palin (97 percent), Rudy Giuliani (91 percent), Mitt Romney (86 percent), Newt Gingrich (85 percent), Michele Bachmann (83 percent), and Ron Paul (78 percent).