flurry of polls came out this week measuring how President Obama stacks up against the biggest names in the Republican party. With his re-election fight still two years off, Obama has a comfortable lead over some — but not all — of his hypothetical challengers (and one former president):
SARAH PALIN: The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate doesn't fare as well. In a CNN poll, Obama defeats her easily — 55 percent to 42 percent. At this stage, candidate matchups mainly gauge name recognition, says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. But Palin's already a household name, so her poor showing means voters "have some doubts" about her.
MIKE HUCKABEE: CNN says former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is the preferred rival for Obama among Republicans and Independents, with 24 percent saying they'd most like to see him oppose Obama in 2012. Still, Huckabee loses to Obama in a one-to-one matchup, 45 percent to 55.
MITT ROMNEY: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney — who, like Huckabee and Ron Paul, ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008 — does the best against Obama among the most likely GOP nominees, according to CNN. But Obama still beats him, 53 percent to 45 percent.
RON PAUL: The "maverick" GOP congressman from Texas is neck-and-neck with President Obama, according to a Rasmussen poll: 42 percent of respondents said they would support Obama in a 2012 vote, and 41 percent backed Paul. Eleven percent preferred someone else, and 6 percent were undecided.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Although the question is purely hypothetical, Americans are evenly divided over whether they would rather have Obama or George W. Bush in the White House, according to Public Policy Polling. Forty-eight percent prefer Obama, and 46 percent would rather have his predecessor back in office. Bush's approval ratings were "atrocious" at the end of his term because conservatives had soured on him, but now 87 percent of Republicans say they prefer him to Obama.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Attack of the invasive species
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Which states get screwed worst by the Electoral College?
- These stunning travel photos remind us that we're all just amateurs with iPhones
- If a nuclear bomb exploded in downtown Washington, what should you do?
Subscribe to the Week