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Poll: 4+ months into Obama, Republicans looking better to Americans

June 2, 2009 |  5:15 pm

It's been seven long months since we've had an official presidential campaign going. Of course, in modern times the incumbent president in a first term is never not running. Hence, Nancy Reagan at the White House today with Barack Obama.

And so many other ongoing activities of the new Democratic administration that's taking its show to the Middle East overnight.

But a new CNN/Opinion Research poll out today takes a peek at the 2012 field of possible Republican candidates. Yeah, right. Don't make your bets now. The most important news from this poll perhaps is that as of May 14-17, no Americans didn't know of George W. Bush or John McCain.

Republican ex-Gov Mike Huckabee

Neither of whom could conceivably be a candidate in 2012.

However, 3% of the country still hasn't heard of this Dick Cheney fellow. Well, no one ever accused Americans of paying too much attention to the news of their democracy.

Anyway, here's what the telephone poll of 1,010 adult Americans reveals almost five months into Obama's term, all obviously designed by CNN to drive the competing talkers berserk over at the White House's favorite network:

Americans now are thinking more favorably of Bush, Cheney, McCain, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and someone named Rush Limbaugh. Their favorable numbers are all up, some significantly.

Their unfavorable ratings have all dropped, some significantly.

As The Ticket reported earlier today, Minnesota GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who was not included in the poll, announced he would not seek a third term.

Which either means he's positioning himself for a 2012 run at the GOP nomination or he wants to have more time to attend his daughter's volleyball games. (Yeah, that's what we figure too.)

The only Republican polled who did not advance in popularity was Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Her unfavorables stayed constant at 43%. But her favorable rating slipped slightly from 49% right after the Nov. 4 election to 46% today.

No, wait now. Calm down. Even down 3 points, her 46% is still better than all the other Republicans polled except McCain.

Obama, of course, has a current popularity rating north of 60%. However, that's probably mostly due to VP Joe Biden's coattails, don't you think? He won't be on the Democratic ticket in 2012.

And this time next year, when unemployment rates are still high or growing as predicted and the midterm congressional campaigns are ramping up, we'll see where all these numbers stand.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press