Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin is by far the most recognized and also the most polarized of the potential 2012 Republican presidential contenders, according to a new national poll.
And an Associated Press-GfK survey conducted following the midterm elections also indicates that at this very early date in the next race for the White House, only a minority of Americans say President Barack Obama deserves to be re-elected.
Forty-six percent of people questioned in the poll, which was released Wednesday, say they have a favorable opinion of the former Alaska governor, with 49 percent saying they have an unfavorable view of the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Only five percent say they don't know enough about Palin to form an opinion, a percentage much lower than registered by any other possible White House candidate tested in the survey.
Palin's numbers in the AP-GfK poll are comparable to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey conducted the weekend before the election, which found that four in ten had a favorable opinion of her, with 49 percent holding an unfavorable opinion and 11 percent unsure.
The poll indicates that 49 percent say they have a favorable opinion of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who made a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, with 27 percent seeing him in a negative light and one in four having no opinion.
Forty-six percent say they see former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who also ran in 2008, in a positive light, with 31 percent saying they see him in a negative way and nearly a quarter holding no opinion.
The poll indicates Americans are split on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at 41 percent, with 18 percent saying they don't know.
The percent of those saying they have no opinion rises much higher for the others questioned in the poll: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (57 percent), Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (58 percent), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (62 percent), and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota (64 percent).
Palin's numbers rise when the pool is narrowed to Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, with nearly eight in ten holding a favorable opinion of her and 17 percent saying they see her in an unfavorable way.
But among independent voters only, Palin has a 43 percent favorable rating.
Among all Americans, 54 percent say Obama deserves to be voted out of office, with 39 percent saying the president deserves to be re-elected, and nine percent unsure.
To be fair, polls at this stage in the next cycle are heavily influenced by name recognition and popularity, and this survey was conducted November 3-8, in the days after major Republican victories in the midterm elections.
One-thousand people were questioned by telephone in the AP-GfK poll. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
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