CNN poll: Obama trails “generic Republican”

A new poll from CNN shows voter discontent with President Barack Obama mounting as a “generic Republican” would beat him in 2012:

Pres. Obama trails a generic GOPer in a WH ‘12 re-election bid, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released today. Among registered voters, fully half, 50%, said they were more likely to vote for a generic GOPer, while just 45% said they were more likely to vote for Obama.

While the numbers are striking, the generic ballot at this stage doesn’t always mean the incumbent pres. is destined for just one term. Prior to his re-election bid, George W. Bush never trailed a generic Dem, according to trends from what was then the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The closest a generic Dem came to Bush was 47-43% in Sept. ‘03.

Bill Clinton, on the other hand, trailed a generic opponent from the GOP by wide margins. In Dec. ‘94, a month after his party was drubbed at the polls in the midterm elections, the generic GOP candidate led Clinton, 53-39%.

CNN also tested the GOP contenders against one another in a national primary. Ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney (21%) edged ahead of ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (18%), with ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (15%), ex-AR Gov. Mike Huckabee (14%) and Rep. Ron Paul (10%) trailing behind.

The poll was conducted with registered voters, which tends to tilt Democratic, so I would wager that the numbers are somewhat inflated. You can view more information on the poll here.

Other points of the poll show Obama’s approval rating upside down, 47% of voters approve, but 51% disapprove. Republicans hold an advantage over Democrats in the generic congressional ballot, 48% to 45%, which CNN notes is similar to the Republican advantage leading into the 1994 mid-terms.

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