Survey: Romney, Huckabee in striking distance of Obama

Two top GOP 2012 presidential contenders are within striking distance of beating President Obama, a new poll suggests Tuesday.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are even or just a few points behind Obama, respectively, in the race for the White House, according to a Newsweek/Daily Beast poll.

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The poll showed Obama and Huckabee tied at 46 percent, and Obama enjoying a 49-47 percent lead over Romney.

The president enjoys a much wider lead over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), by contrast. Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would vote for Obama in a hypothetical match-up against Palin, compared to 40 percent who'd back Palin.

Obama enjoys leads over Huckabee and Romney, as well, in hypothetical match-ups in a three-way race involving reality television star and financier Donald Trump (R). (In a one-on-one match-up, Obama would score 43 percent against Trump's 41 percent, with 16 percent of voters unsure.)

More so than other recent polls, the Newsweek/Daily Beast survey seems to suggest that Republicans are close to beating Obama in 2012. Obama enjoyed a wider lead over Romney and Huckabee in a Fox News poll of registered voters earlier this month. A Gallup Poll in early February, however, did have Obama tied against a generic Republican candidate among registered voters.

The poll also suggests a generally competitive race in the Republican primary for the presidential nomination. The poll found that 19 percent would favor Romney in the GOP primary, 18 percent would favor Huckabee, 10 percent would choose Palin, 8 percent would want Trump, 7 percent would prefer former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and 5 percent would elect former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Other candidates checked in at 1 percent, while a whopping 31 percent were undecided.

The poll, conducted Feb. 12-15 among likely voters, has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

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