WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin predicted Sunday that Barack Obama would lose the presidency if he was currently facing re-election. But apparently that's far from true if she's the Republican challenging him, a new poll finds.
"I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be re-elected," Palin said on Fox News.
While studies find the president's job approval ratings on a downward curve, a just-released poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion finds that Obama would decisively defeat Palin in a hypothetical race between the two and independent New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Marist found that Obama would win such a match-up by 15 points, garnering 44 percent of the vote to Palin's 29. Bloomberg was behind with 15 percent.
The race may well turn out to be a reality as polls show Palin is a leading contender for the Republican nomination in 2012. She also strongly suggested this weekend she may enter the race, telling Fox's Chris Wallace it would be "absurd not to consider" running.
Palin offered Obama some advice on how he might boost his popularity rating, suggesting it would help him to "declare war on Iran" or "play the war card."
Democratic strategists have expressed their hope that Palin will be challenging Obama as the GOP nominee in 2012, believing the president is virtually guaranteed victory if that's the case.
Republicans are divided on the question of Palin's potential candidacy. As popular as she is with the core conservative base, many GOP strategists are skeptical as to whether she can pose a serious challenge to Obama in a general election.
The Marist poll also found some potentially troubling news for Obama as his disapproval rating, 47 percent, was higher than his approval rating, 44 percent. The strongest drop in support was among independents, 57 percent of whom held a negative view of his performance.