Barack Obama barely beats them in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups (and, occasionally, polls show they would beat him), but, apparently, if Hillary Clinton were to run for president on the Democratic ticket, she would make mincemeat of Mitt Romney, pommel Rick Perry and clean Herman Cain’s clock:

A national poll conducted for TIME on Oct. 9 and 10 found that if Clinton were the Democratic nominee for President in 2012, she would best Mitt Romney 55% to 38%, Rick Perry 58% to 32% and Herman Cain 56% to 34% among likely voters in a general election. The same poll found that President Obama would edge Romney by just 46% to 43%, Perry by 50% to 38% and Cain by 49% to 37% among likely voters.

Unable to analyze the methodology of the poll, I can’t vouch for its validity, but it doesn’t seem implausible. The grass is always greener …

Clinton continues to say she has no intention to run for president in 2012 or even in 2016. I wouldn’t be totally shocked if she reversed that in 2016, her age notwithstanding (she’d be 69 by the day of the vote). But, overall, I believe her — and think it’s wise of her to say no to the temptation. Think, for example, of how spectacularly Rick Perry polled before he actually entered the presidential race. As soon as Clinton appeared on the campaign trail, at least some of her would-be supporters would remember (and be turned off by) her strident tone, her unspoken pleas for power, her unoriginal and predictably liberal ideas. Unless her years under Obama really have humbled her? But, no — not when she’s managed, in those years, to become more popular than the president. Better, then, for Clinton to bask in this popularity, which could only accrue to someone decidedly outside electoral politics.