The bad news: This same hypothetical was polled five months ago and The One won by virtually the same margin. His loss of support since then has not been the ‘Cuda’s gain. The good news: Her net favorable rating’s actually been trending slightly upwards, from -13 a few weeks to -9 last week to -6 now. Maybe the “death panels” talk did some good.

Do note that this is a poll of registered voters, too. When you poll likely voters, as Rasmussen does, the numbers narrow considerably.

It’s probably not a shock that public opinion divides along party lines. 92% of Democrats would support Obama in this hypothetical contest while 73% of Republicans would back Palin. Although President Obama does not receive a majority of Independents in this matchup, Obama does win nearly half — 49% — of this key voting group. Palin receives 34% of their support…

Palin’s decision to step down from office did not help her cause. In fact, voters say her action hurt her prospects for a presidential bid. 61% of the national electorate thought Palin’s resignation was a bad political move while just 15% report it helps her political aspirations. The self-proclaimed “soccer mom” doesn’t even gain the affirmation of her own party. A slim majority of Republicans — 51% — think Palin’s stepping down hurt her political future. 69% of Democrats and 61% of Independents agree…

However, Palin does have some considerable clout within her own party. Nearly three-quarters of Republicans — 73% — think well of Palin compared with 16% who have the opposite opinion.

The race for the nomination splits Mitt 21, Palin 20, Huck 19, which is in line with every other poll that’s been taken about this. Follow the link for the crosstabs breaking down each question by demographics — she fares better in the south and among non-college grads and worse with young voters and women — but the eye-popping statistic is the 20 percent of Republicans who say they’d vote for Obama over her versus just 4 percent of Democrats who’d break the other way. (Indies prefer Obama 49/34.) That’s a shocking number given the backlash among conservatives to The One’s spending, especially when you consider that those who still self-identify as Republican are likely to be more firmly right-wing than, say, five years ago. If she’s got one-fifth of the GOP willing to swallow another term of Hopenchange rather than elect her, she’s got some credibility work to do. Exit question: Maybe that 20 percent suspect her of being … a socialist?