President Obama would beat two top contenders for the Republican nomination in 2012 by a wide margin, a new poll found Thursday.
The president would beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) by nine percentage points, and best former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) by 19 points if the election were held today, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
Forty-nine percent of registered voters would elect Obama and 40 percent would choose Romney in a matchup between the two. Five percent were undecided, and six percent would prefer another candidate.
Obama would beat Pawlenty, 50-31 percent. Ten percent were undecided, nine percent said it depends, and six percent would vote for a different candidate.
Republicans actually fare better at this early point in the cycle with a generic candidate on the ballot. Forty-five percent of registered voters like Obama against a generic Republican, who would get 40 percent of the vote.
To an extent, Obama’s early advantage reflects the fact that the race for president in 2012 hasn’t formally gotten underway. Neither Romney nor Pawlenty have announced their candidacies, though both are expected to run.
Poll: Obama Leads Romney, Pawlenty
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