Within the margin of error.

This is the seventh time PPP has conducted this poll and the seventh time Huckabee has polled closest to Obama. Speaking to the weakness of the field of potential Republican candidates he’s the only with a positive favorability rating and even then it’s only 33/29…

Romney is actually the most popular of the Republican candidates with independents, sporting a 38/28 favorability rating with them and holding Obama to just a 41-40 lead. One thing he’ll probably have to contend with to a greater extent if he gets the 2012 nomination is his religion- 34% of respondents say they have an unfavorable opinion of it to 21% who look on it positively.

These monthly hypotheticals from PPP are always fun to blog, and it’s worth flagging this one if only so that we have an easy point of comparison for Palin’s ratings after her book drops, but look closely at the crosstabs and you’ll find some screwy data. For example, last month Huckabee’s favorable rating among Republicans was 70/12, better than even grassroots darling Sarahcuda’s at 69/22. This month? Palin’s at 72/18 while Huck stands at … 56/13, with fully 31 percent undecided. A 14-point drop in one month for no apparent reason? Smells fishy. Likewise, even PPP calls the drop in Palin’s favorable rating over the last few months “mystifying.” She’s only net +1 even in the south?

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Head to head with Obama, she loses 52/40 — and in the south, she edges him by a solitary point. Anyone buying that? As for the numbers by age, she’s the only Republican named in the poll who loses a clear majority to Obama in every group. Even Pawlenty, whose overall numbers are worse than hers, manages to keep The One below 50 percent among those 46 and older. Exit question: Any predictions on where her favorable rating will be after the book comes out? Right now she’s at 36/51 and holding.