Poll: Toughest match-up for Obama in 2012 is ... Huckabee

Seems logical. Who better to champion the small-government vogue that’s sweeping the right than a guy who once supported a federal ban on smoking in the workplace?

Say, wasn’t McCain hypothetically the toughest match-up for Democrats prior to last year’s election?

Huckabee fares the best of the top Republican contenders at this point in time, trailing Obama 49-42.

That margin is basically the same as what Obama won by against John McCain in November. Huckabee also has the best favorability numbers of the Republican quartet at 42/34. Even after running for President last year a quarter of the country doesn’t have an opinion about him one way or the other.

Sarah Palin’s numbers are an interesting conundrum. She easily has the best favorability among Republicans voters, with 76% saying they have a positive opinion of her. The other three range from 60-67 with the party base. But she also has the largest percentage of GOP voters- 21%- who say they would vote for Obama if she ended up being the party nominee. So for the folks in the party who don’t like her that feeling is strong enough they’d rather vote for a Democrat. It adds up to a 12 point deficit for her, 53-41. Overall the electorate has a negative opinion of Palin, 42/49.

Crosstabs here. Interestingly, of the four Republicans included in the poll — Huckabee, Palin, Romney, and Gingrich — the first three pull fully 18 percent of the black vote head-to-head with Obama. (Newt pulls nine.) As for Sarahcuda:

It’s women who are killing her, not men. In fact, only Gingrich does worse among women against The One than she does. As for this:

Not only are her numbers among young voters the worst of the four, but Mitt, Huck, and even Newt are actually net favorable among that group. I don’t know how to explain that except to blame it on Tina Fey for turning her into such a joke among SNL’s target audience. Any other theories?