More Americans would prefer to see Barack Obama re-elected than would prefer a Republican to win in 2012, according to a new poll released today by the Pew Research Center.
In total, 48 percent of respondents said they would rather see Obama re-elected, while 35 percent said they would prefer a Republican and 16 percent didn't know. Among registered voters, 47 percent favored Obama and 37 percent preferred a Republican.
By comparison, a Pew survey of registered voters in April 2003 found 48 percent wanted to see George W. Bush re-elected and 35 percent wanted to elect a Democrat. At the time, Bush's approval rating was higher than Obama's is now, and more people said they were satisfied than dissatisfied with the direction of the country.
In March 1995, only 29 percent of adults in a Pew survey said they would prefer to re-elect Bill Clinton, while 33 percent said they favored a Republican and 20 percent wanted an independent candidate. Having "independent" as an option in that survey makes it difficult to compare directly to Obama's current position.
The new survey also looked at Republican primary candidates: Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee led the field, with 21 percent and 20 percent respectively. Sarah Palin, with 13 percent; Newt Gingrich, with 11 percent; and Ron Paul, with eight percent, trailed Romney and Huckabee, and several other candidates received between two and three percent support.
Conducted March 8-14, the poll targeted 1,525 adults and has a margin of error of three percentage points. Respondents to the Republican primary question included 538 Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters; results for the smaller sample have a margin of error of 5.5 percentage points.