Although 53% of Americans were unable to identify a potential GOP candidate, a new McClatchy-Marist survey reveals that two former governors have gained significant ground in a hypothetical match up against President Obama, while other potential contenders continue to fall behind.
In a near tie in the latest poll, Mitt Romney currently leads among prospective Republican candidates when paired against the current Administration:
When given the choice between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the president, voters divide. 46% of registered voters say they would back the president while 45% say they would cast their ballot for Romney. Nine percent are undecided.
In a previous survey in January the President maintained a 13% lead, with just 38% of Americans backing the former Massachusetts governor and 11% undecided. And when it comes to Independent voters, Marist notes that support for the President's reelection bid has also significantly fallen when paired against Romney:
Currently a plurality — 45% — back Romney while 42% support Obama. 13% are undecided. Previously, the president held a 10 percentage point lead over Romney.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, although still trailing the President, has also seen a jump in numbers since the previous poll:
48% of voters say they would support the president in this hypothetical contest while 43% believe they would back Huckabee. Nine percent are undecided. However, Huckabee has narrowed the gap. In McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey, 12 percentage points separated the two. In January, half of voters — 50% — said Obama was their candidate while 38% said the same about Huckabee. 12% were undecided.
While Romney and Huckabee have experienced an increase in support, Marist's latest survey shows that when it comes to the wider GOP field it's not all positive news, as President Obama continues to "outdistance" other opponents, including media "favorites" Sarah Palin and Donald Trump:
A majority — 56% — believe they will vote for Obama if [Sarah] Palin receives the Republican nomination. 34%, though, say they will cast their ballot for Palin. One in ten — 10% — are undecided. In January, the same proportion of voters — 56% — supported Obama while 30% backed Palin. 13%, at the time, were undecided.
And, there’s been much speculation about a presidential run by businessman Donald Trump. Is he a strong contender when he’s toe-to-toe with President Obama? In this contest, Obama garners a majority of voters — 54% — to 38% for Trump. Eight percent are undecided.
The full results of the latest McClatchy-Marist poll can be viewed here.