by Dan Gibson
The standard November polling caveat still applies here: none of this really matters, except that millions of dollars in time and manpower will be spent as a result of these sort of polls. However, at this particular moment, it would appear that President Obama should cross his fingers that anyone but Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination, if Public Policy Polling's numbers can be believed:
Obama trails a hypothetical match up with Mitt Romney, 49-42. That 7 point spread is pretty similar to the 9 points Obama lost to John McCain by in 2008. Romney leads Obama by 11 points with independents and takes an impressive 16% of the Democratic vote.
Obama does have a chance in the state if the GOP nominates someone other than Romney though.
Current GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich can only achieve a tie in the state with Obama at 45% each. Numbers we released last week showed that Gingrich is the first choice of Republicans in the state, but he just can't match Romney's appeal to Democrats and independents. Where Romney has an 11 point advantage over Obama with independents, Gingrich leads him by just a single point with that group. And where Romney gets 16% of the Democratic vote, Gingrich can only get 12%. It's pretty clear who Republicans need to go with if their first priority is defeating Obama.
Gingrich actually isn't the second strongest Republican against Obama. That honor goes to Ron Paul who leads the President by a single point at 44-43. Most striking in Paul's numbers is a 55-28 advantage with independents. We really are finding on most polls that Paul is the strongest candidate with those voters out of Obama and the entire Republican field. Paul did better overall against Obama than Gingrich on both our Pennsylvania and Arizona polls last week.
Obama has clear leads against 2 other Republican candidates: he's up 46-42 on Herman Cain and 47-40 on Rick Perry. Perry's favorability numbers continues to register at astonishingly low levels: only 17% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of him to 67% with a negative one.