President Barack Obama had a decent lead over his potential Republican challengers in 2012 in a Fox News poll conducted in early February.


The poll, which was based on telephone interviews with 911 registered voters, found that Obama had a substantial lead over all of the GOP's top candidates, most of whom were working as paid contributors for the conservative-leaning Fox News Channel.

When asked if they would rather vote for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or Obama, 48 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Obama while 41 percent said they would vote for Romney.

Similarly, if Obama was running against former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, 49 percent of those surveyed said they would vote for Obama while 41 percent said they would vote for Huckabee.

Other potential Republican candidates fared even worse. Fifty-six percent said they would vote for Obama if he was running against former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and 55 percent said they would vote for Obama if he was running against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The poll also found that 53 percent thought Obama was more focused on his job as president while 33 percent said he was already more focused on the 2012 election.

The Gallup polling firm found in November that Palin is by far the most popular Republican considered a potential 2012 candidate, with 67 percent of Republicans saying they'd vote for her over all others. Romney placed second with 62 percent, with Huckabee in third at 61 percent.

A poll from Rasmussen released late January reported that Sarah Palin's divisiveness as a candidate may pose a serious electoral problem for the Republicans in 2012.

According to the poll, nearly half of likely GOP voters who support Palin said they would switch to a third party candidate if the current Fox News personality didn't secure the presidential nomination in 2012. Fully 46 percent of Palin backers said they were likely to vote third party if Palin lost, with 22 percent saying it's "very likely."

This devotion among Palin fans is especially problematic for the GOP because, as an earlier Rasmussen poll showed, Palin is the GOP front-runner with the largest opposition among Republican voters. Thirty-three percent of likely GOP voters said Palin was the candidate they least want to see win the presidential nomination.

According to a survey by CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation published February 8, Americans remained largely split on whether Obama deserved a second term in office. The survey found that 51 percent believed Obama would not win a second term, while 47 percent said that he likely would.