Who Has the Best Chance of Beating Obama in 2012?
You may look at the current state of the country (high unemployment rate, large deficits, weak real estate market, rapidly increasing national debt, etc) and think that Obama has practically no chance of being re-elected in 2012.
If that is what you think, then you are wrong. Very, very wrong.
President Obama stands a great chance of being re-elected in 2012, and Republicans will need to choose their Presidential nominee very carefully in order to have any hopes of taking back the White House.
Obama will have two very big advantages heading into 2012:
1) He is the incumbent
2) He hopes to raise a BILLION dollars
The Republican nominee is going to have to do battle with an incumbent President who is very likely going to have nearly a billion dollars in his war chest. That's a tough assignment.
So, who stands the best chance of beating President Obama in 2012?
First off, things can change very quickly. As of right now, Mike Huckabee is the preferred choice amongst Republican voters, plus he matches up most favorably against Barack Obama. However, as we have learned in past elections, things can change very quickly. In 2008, it was widely assumed that Hilary Clinton would get the nod to be the Democratic nominee for President. However, Barack Obama rode a wave of momentum and eventually beat out Clinton.
In short, somebody unexpected may very well emerge for the Republicans that energizes the base and ends up getting the nomination.
As of right now, as mentioned, the person who matches up the most favorably against Barack Obama is Mike Huckabee. Let's look at how voters feel about some of the theoretical match-ups, courtesy of RasmussenReports.com:
Obama 45% vs Romney 40%
Obama 48% vs Palin 38%
Obama 43% vs Huckabee 43%
Obama 49% vs Gingrich 37%
Obama 42% vs Paul 34%
Obama 45% vs Pawlenty 35%
Obama 45% vs Daniels 32%
Obama 43% vs Cain 25%
Obama 42% vs Barbour 34%
Obama 42% vs Huntsman 31%
Obama 49% vs Trump 34%
As you can see, Obama and Huckabee are even at 43%.
In every other match-up, Barack Obama has a very big lead. He currently has a 5 point lead over Romney, a 10 point lead over Sarah Palin and a 15 point lead over Donald Trump.
Sarah Palin, who was once considered a strong contender to square off against Obama in 2012, has lost a considerable amount of her momentum in recent months. Donald Trump, who has been teasing a potential run for President in 2012, just doesn't match up very well against Obama in a hypothetical 2012 Presidential match-up.
The problem with the list above is that the person who matches up most favorably against Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, may not be running in 2012.
According to prediction market Intrade.com, Huckabee is only being given a 45% chance of announcing that he will be running for President in 2012. Despite being the early favorite in the minds of Republican voters, Huckabee is far from a sure thing to run next year.
Sarah Palin (39.7%) and Donald Trump (54%) also stand a good chance of not running in 2012, at least according to Intrade.com.
As it stands right now, Mike Huckabee has the best chance of being Obama in 2012.
If Huckabee elects not to run, then Mitt Romney (who is almost certainly running next year) stands the best chance of winning, at least according to Republican voters.
That being said, a great deal can happen between now and the time that the Republican nominee is chosen. It will be interesting to see who ends up getting picked to run against Barack Obama, who is going to pose a very tough challenge for any of his potential opponents in 2012.