Public Policy Polling conducted its latest survey on the 2012 presidential race, and the results can’t have cheered their usual Democratic followers.  After fifteen months of blowing out Republican challengers, Barack Obama suddenly has fallen into dead heats with just about all of them, including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.  Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee both slightly outpace Obama (h/t Jon0815):

Though his favorability rating is largely unchanged since March, Barack Obama now trails two of the top 2012 Republican presidential contenders and ties
another, while a fourth is down only two points after previously losing by larger margins.

Mitt Romney leads Obama 45-44 after tying the president at 44 last month. This is true despite Obama consolidating his Democratic support and narrowing his deficit among independents.

After trailing 44-46 to Obama in March, Mike Huckabee now leads the president 47-45. Huckabee boosted his favorability numbers from 31-36 to 32-31 in a month by decreasing his disapproval among liberals, moderates, conservatives, and Republicans.

Sarah Palin now lags Obama only 45-47 after showing deficits of eight or seven points in each of the last three months. Both Obama and Palin have increased their base support, but Palin now trails Obama among independents 39-46 versus 35-49 in March.

For Gingrich, the change is remarkable considering his favorability ratings in the poll, which comes in at a -13 — hardly a recommended level for a potential ticket leader.  Despite that, Obama can only tie Gingrich, 45-45.  That means that he picks up 11 points more in votes than he gets in favorability, which says a lot more about Obama than it does about Gingrich.  All of the GOP candidates mentioned in the PPP poll have net negative favorability ratings (Romney -9, Palin -14) except Huckabee, who has a +1.

Note, too, the big improvement in Palin’s numbers.  She may trail, but that’s well within the margin of error.  She closed the gap quickly, and it appears to have coincided with the passage of ObamaCare.

In fact, Obama can’t get above 47% against any of the most-discussed GOP contenders for the nomination.  That should have red flags waving at the White House’s political operation.  When an incumbent can’t get to 50%, it’s a clear sign of trouble for the next election.  They have two years to fix the problem, but for a first-term president, this looks pretty bleak.

Interestingly, the partisan split is dead even at 38%.  That may help Democrats feel a little better — the real split is probably between three and five points favoring Democrats — but that may only be a temporary reprieve.  At the rate this administration has lost credibility with the electorate, Democrats may be lucky to have a straight party split by 2012.