Washington Post/ABC Poll Has Romney, Huckabee As Strongest Challengers Against Obama

The Washington Post and ABC conducted a poll, a mere snapshot, of the state of the 2012 contest that showed Obama’s vulnerabilities and reinforced the fluid situation of the current state of the 2012 GOP contest, which lacks a clear front-runner. In the poll, Romney led among all other potential GOP presidential candidates.

Obama “Imperiled” by economy he has mismanaged

It’s always the economy, stupid. With food and gas prices rising and America going further into debt, Americans are unhappy with the economy to say the least. If the economy continues to spin its wheels, Republicans will have a natural advantage going into 2012 given they find the right candidate to challenge Obama.

Obama remains most imperiled, and Republicans best assisted, by the public’s long-running — and now heightened — economic discontent. Forty-four percent say the economy’s getting worse, the most since March 2009

Wide-open field

The poll found what has been evident by the results of straw polls and other scattered polls. The GOP ’12 race is a fluid situation. Opinions will congeal, of course, as candidates announce and policy positions are honed and contrasted. But this snapshot showed a combination of ambivalence and dissastifaction. In this atmosphere, the candidate who attacks Obama the fiercest may be the one who breaks out.

Forty-three percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they’re satisfied with the choice of candidates for the GOP nomination for president next year, compared with 65 percent satisfaction with the field at exactly this point four years ago. Nearly as many leaning-Republicans are dissatisfied with the field as are satisfied, and far more have no opinion of their potential candidates: 17 percent now vs. 3 percent at this point in 2007.

Romney leads GOP field

In the poll, Romney led the potential field of GOP contenders with 16 percent; Trump garnered 8 percent; Huckabee received 6 percent; Palin received 5 percent.

Romney and Huckabee fare best against Obama

In a hypothetical matchup against Obama, the poll found that Romney and Huckabee fared the best; further, Romney and Huckabee did better against Obama among Independent voters:

Closer, as noted, are Huckabee, who trails Obama by 50-44 percent; and Romney, who comes within a scant 4 points, with 45 percent to Obama’s 49.

Notably, both Romney and Huckabee move numerically ahead of Obama, by 49-44 percent and 48-45 percent, respectively, among independents, the quintessential swing voters in national elections. All other Republicans tested in this poll trail Obama among independents.