Marist set the 2012 jokes aside for a moment and actually got involved in the early polling for the next presidential election. Nationally, the Marist University poll probed its 938 respondents on questions focused on Sarah Palin, but for 2012, matched the former Alaska governor against President Obama and gauged her odds in the race for the Republican nomination as well. The results? In the general election, not so good. But in an early look at the primary race, Palin was once again closely clustered with both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee setting the 2012 pace. Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty trailed that group to varying degrees and nearly a quarter of the respondents were still undecided. That's a pretty good chunk of those polled still playing the wait and see game. In fact, "unsure" would win if the election were held today. Reminds you of Jimmy Carter losing to "uncommitted" in the 1976 Iowa caucuses yet still winning the contest, doesn't it? That is the highest that type of figure has been. Of course, this is asking "unsure" but doesn't include "other" along with it to incorporate those who might feel strongly about a candidate off this list.
Let's look at the results and their attendant graphics. First the general election match up:
Margin of error: +/- 3.5 points
Sample: 854 registered voters
Conducted: August 3-6, 2009
First of all, the rub on a lot of these polls lately has been the divide between the registered voter results and the likely voter results. This poll is made up of registered voters and that likely is helping bump up Obama's support. Likely voters would give us a more Republican flavor and Palin would hypothetically be closer. Still, Obama would undoubtedly be ahead in a likely voter sample. The one thing were missing here (and Public Policy Polling will help me out with this tomorrow.) is another Republican polled against Obama. Without that, we are deprived of the interesting gender gap numbers we've seen among the Republicans versus Obama. Other Republicans have been running ahead of Palin against Obama among women in other polls.
And the Republican primary race?
Margin of error: +/- 5.5 points
Sample: 310 Republicans (& Republican-leaning independents)
Conducted: August 3-6, 2009
There isn't much new here that we haven't discussed either earlier in this post or in conjunction with another primary poll. It isn't like the wide margin in the Palin-Obama trial heat (a figure that runs counter to the closing gap witnessed over the last several months.). Again, at this early point, it is Romney, Palin and Huckabee in no particular order and then everyone else. That doesn't mean someone else won't be the GOP nominee in 2012, but these are the top options as of August 2009 (and throughout the year for that matter).
NOTE: There should be some additional 2012 numbers from PPP sometime tomorrow.
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