Obama speech 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama retains a big lead over possible Republican rivals in the 2012 election despite anxiety about the economy and the country's future, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday.
Obama's approval rating inched up 1 percentage point from May to 50 percent but the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track also rose as pricier gasoline, persistently high unemployment and a weak housing market chipped away at public confidence.
Obama leads all potential Republican challengers by double-digit
margins. He is ahead of his closest Republican rival, former
Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, by 13 percentage points -- 51
percent to 38 percent.
"Obama's position has gotten a little stronger over the last couple of
months as the public mood has evened out, and as an incumbent he has
some big advantages over his rivals," Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said.
"Until Republicans go through a primary season and select a nominee,
they are going to be at a disadvantage in the head-to-head matchups in
Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice presidential nominee, and Romney lead the
pack of Republicans battling for the right to challenge Obama in the
November 2012 election.
Palin, who has not said whether she will run, had the support of 22
percent of the Republicans surveyed and Romney had 20 percent.
Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, and former
pizza executive Herman Cain were tied for third with 7 percent each.
The Republican candidates are just starting to engage in their
slow-starting nomination race. Young said Palin and Romney had a clear
advantage at this stage over other challengers in name recognition among
Sixty percent of those polled said the country is on the wrong track, with 35 percent saying it is going in the right direction.
The survey was taken after weak jobs and housing reports last week
showed the economy is recovering much slower than expected. Unemployment
rose slightly to 9.1 percent for the month.
The poll, conducted Friday through Monday, surveyed 1,132 adults
nationwide by telephone, including 948 registered voters. The margin of
error is 3 percentage points.