The pollsters at Public Policy Polling released a report Wednesday showing that President Barack Obama may face an uphill battle if he hopes to win Montana in the 2012 presidential election. But his fate may still depend on which candidate the GOP nominates.
The PPP poll found that only 41 percent of Montanans approve of Obama’s performance, compared to 54 percent who disapprove. Obama lost the state in 2008 by 3 percentage points to Sen. John McCain.
In hypothetical matchups, Obama performs worst against Republicans Mitt Romney, who is preferred 50-39, and Mike Huckabee, who leads the president 51-41.
But if Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich are nominated, according to PPP, the race would be much closer. Palin leads the president 47-45 and Gingrich 46-44. From the pollsters:
Most striking is the numbers with independents if one of them was to be nominee. Obama leads Palin by 18 points with them at 52-34 and Gingrich by 17 points with them at 49-32. Not exactly the kind of numbers you would expect to see in a conservative state.
The poll doesn’t consider other potential Republican candidates, such as South Dakota Sen. John Thune, who visited Kalispell last month. And of the possible candidates who were included, none of them enjoy overwhelming support in the state. Here’s a breakdown:
Favorable view/unfavorable view of potential GOP candidates in Montana:
Mike Huckabee: 46/35
Mitt Romney: 38/39
Sarah Palin: 44/50
Newt Gingrich 34/47
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