Pew poll: Obama would deliver shellacking to generic Republican

President Obama would deliver a shellacking to a generic Republican candidate if 2012's presidential election were held today, a new poll found Wednesday.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters said they would choose to reelect Obama, compared to 35 percent who would prefer an unnamed Republican candidate, while 16 percent were undecided, a Pew Research Center poll found.

That puts Obama at basically the same position as President George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency, and a stronger standing than President Clinton held in March of 1995.

Those figures could seem discouraging to the crop of Republicans considering a challenge to Obama in 2012, from which a clear front-runner has yet to emerge, according to the same Pew poll.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee are locked in a virtual tie for the lead of the field among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, the poll found.

Twenty-one percent of those GOP voters would most like to see Romney win the nomination to face off against Obama in 2012, while 20 percent said they'd most like to see Huckabee as the Republican nominee.

Thirteen percent of Republicans would like to see former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin win the nomination, while 11 percent prefer former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.). The rest of the GOP field polled in the single digits, and 15 percent of Republicans said they were undecided.

The poll, conducted March 10-13, has a 3.5 percent margin of error for registered voters and a 5.5 percent margin of error for Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters.