Poll: Democrats split on 2012 Obama primary challenge
November 24th, 2010
12:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Democrats split on 2012 Obama primary challenge

Washington (CNN) - Democrats are divided on whether President Barack Obama should face a primary challenge in the next presidential election, according to a new national poll.

A McClatchy-Marist survey released Wednesday also indicates that Obama would come out on top in a very hypothetical three way 2012 general election matchup against former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee and New York City Michael Bloomberg as an independent candidate. And according to the poll, only 36 percent say they would definitely vote to re-elect Obama.

Forty-six percent of Democrats and Democratic leaning independent voters questioned in the survey say they don't want the president to face a Democratic primary challenge, with 45 percent saying they do want such a challenge to occur, with nine percent unsure.

Four out of ten Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democrats say they prefer a more conservative challenger, while 39 percent say they want a challenger who is more liberal.

"Interestingly, a plurality of Democrats – 42 percent – would like to see a more liberal challenger while half of Democratic leaning independents – 50 percent – would like to see a more conservative one," says the release by the Marist poll.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted at the end of October, nearly three out of four Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democrats prefer Obama as their party's 2012 presidential nominee, with 22 percent preferring another Democrat.

The McClatchy-Marist poll indicates that 48 percent of registered voters nationwide plan to vote against the president in 2012, with 36 percent saying they'll vote to re-elect Obama and 15 percent undecided at this very early date in the next election cycle.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Monday indicates that a plurality of Americans don't think Obama deserves to be re-elected to a second term in the White House, and an Associated Press-GfK survey released 11 days ago indicated that 54 percent thought Obama should be voted out of office in 2012. To be fair, all of these surveys have been conducted in the days and weeks following major Republican victories in the midterm elections.

According to the McClatchy-Marist poll, 50 percent of independent voters say they won't support Obama in a bid for re-election, with three in ten saying they plan to vote for the president in 2012 and one in five undecided.

"As the electoral page turns from the midterms to 2012, President Obama starts off, not surprisingly, in a somewhat tenuous position," says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Looking ahead to 2012, the Marist survey appears to be the first to ask about a very hypothetical Obama-Palin-Bloomberg showdown, with 45 percent of registered voters saying they would back Obama, 31 percent supporting Palin and 15 percent casting a ballot for Bloomberg, with nine percent undecided.
According to the survey, six in ten say they don't want the New York City mayor to run for the White House, with 12 percent saying they'd like Bloomberg to take the plunge into presidential politics and more than a quarter unsure.

The poll indicates that in a hypothetical battle for the GOP presidential nomination, one in five Republicans and Republican leaning independents say they would support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with 16 percent backing former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 13 supporting Palin, one in ten backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and everyone else in single digits.

The McClatchy-Marist survey is in line with numerous other polls that suggest that there's no single front-runner in upcoming battle for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

The McClatch-Marist poll was conducted November 15-18, with 1,020 adults nationwide, including 810 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered voters.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Still early, but there's got to be a lot of democratic strategists scratching their noggins on what to do about this.

    November 24, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Kevin,FL

    Obama said to ABC News "he’s not giving much consideration to the coming presidential run, he is instead focusing on being “the best possible president.” – so what if he's thinking about not running for reelection in 2012!! any President who has plans on running for another term WILL give serious considerations on the upcoming presidential run/election...

    November 24, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    > And according to the poll, only 36 percent say they would definitely vote to re-elect Obama.
    BYE BYE OBOZO!!! Now I am REALLY looking forward to 2012!!!

    >"Interestingly, a plurality of Democrats – 42 percent – would like to see a more liberal challenger while half of Democratic l>eaning independents – 50 percent – would like to see a more conservative one," says the release by the Marist poll.

    It appears the DemocRAT Party is 42% socialist/progressive/communist. Maybe they should include Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro in the poll next time as perspective challengers and see how many would vote for them?!!

    November 24, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. sammieb51

    It is too early to focus on this - our government needs to focus on the many tasks at hand - for starters like how Americans are going to continue to feed and house their families in the disappearing job market - before they start with this stuff.

    November 24, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |

    If they dar primary Obama, it will be to the detriment of the DEM Party.........this President practically sacrificed his presidency for core Democratic party principles.......keeping a healthy productive nation by expanding healthcare coverage, and by two, being sherriff to the wild west rogues of the free market who threaten to tear down the free market with recklessness.........I guess b/c Obama did in two years what it took 60-80 years to accomplish, the DEMS think they have someone better? Who can work faster, and go further left, or further right? Enough!!!! Obama is a centrist......once he's done working w/ the GOP in the next 2 yrs., you'll see how true it is.
    We elected the right guy.

    November 24, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Brady

    I don't blame Democrats for being conflicted as Obama was and is not up to the job. It has hurt the country having such inept leadership.

    November 24, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Obama is a centrist.
    Not by choice! He wanted single payer healthcare (government run healthcare) but there were Democratic Senators that opposed it so he settled for a multi-trillion dollar new government healthcare entitlement that will eventually bring the whole healthcare system down.

    Obozo has far more in common with Hugo Chavez and Fidel castro than he does with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

    November 24, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Patrick

    Way to early to talk about this. People need to relearn patience and civility in this country. Bush royally screwed us over for eight years. Obama and the Dems managed to pass several landmark bills like Credit card and banking reform as well as a health care bill (Did not go far enough) in the last two years. Was it enough? Nooooooo, The GOP whipped up a toxic storm and played on our perceived need for instant gratification. The result was they took the house. Nothing will ever get done with the middle swinging back and forth like a clueless angry mob. Some things take time to fix.

    November 24, 2010 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. shamgar50

    It's not bye bye Bozo, genius!
    36% are just people who will definitely vote for him. By the time you factor in his share of the undecided, the probably and might, he's a shoo-in. In the scenario in the article, it's a 3 way, and the 36 alone, could well be a winner.
    Bye bye inability to think!

    November 24, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. ok

    I don't blame Democrats for being conflicted as Obama was and is not up to the job. It has hurt the country having such inept leadership.

    just keep your hate to yourself. hater

    November 24, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. phoenix86

    If democrats put up Obama for re-election, it will be the equivalent of mass political suicide. The guy's an idiot. Dems will get the black vote and some latino votes. Everyone else will go elsewhere.

    November 24, 2010 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Dave, Central Illinois

    Anybody that dares to question Obama is a racist! So, I can't wait to watch the three ring circus starring the Dems circular firing squad!

    November 24, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. S. In California

    I am so sick and tired of the name (p)alin I could scream! I honestly wish with ALL my heart that this family is WIPED OFF the face of the earth. Then, and ONLY THEN will we not have to read or listen to their ignorance and hatred anymore. Long before Todd (p)alin pimped out his family of whores we had topics to discuss and your blogs were full. When is this going to come to an end? It's not funny anymore. The only news I get about this family is on your ticker. I refuse to listen, watch or come near ANYTHING associated with this klan. CNN your standards are REAL low. Please put a stop to this nonsense NOW.

    November 24, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Matt

    Way too early. I also don't care if he faces a primary, we're here to elect the best person for the job. If someone else thinks they can do a better job, that person should run in the primary as well, and let the people decide. Otherwise, there's hardly any point.

    November 24, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Jim from Va

    So , according to this story 46% of democrats have burried their heads in the sand and don't care that Obama has been enept at leading this country through difficult times. If he faces a primary challenge will depend if he decides it's time to deal with the economy.An unemployment rate around 9.6% doesn't inspire confidence in anyone.

    November 24, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Obozo has far more in common with Hugo Chavez and Fidel castro than he does with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison."

    Wow. I mean, read a freekin history book and a few poli-sci textbooks, stop taking acid and then come back to talk to us. I think the only thing I found suprising about your rampantly teatarded statement was that you somehow, despite your clearly vast and unfathomable wisdom and edumacated knowledge of history, politics and world events, forgot to regurgitate the names of Marx, Hitler, Lenin and/or Stalin. My kitties hork up more intelligent commentary than you, albeit similarly tangled and bilious. What were you thinking though? You better post something referencing one or more of those four men quick or the conservative police will come and take back your "real Amurikan" teatard membership card.

    November 24, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. W L Jones

    This president do not need poll to do right thing for American. The dept of this man is in the soul of every American, you can see it in the faceses of all of us. Never in all my life seen so many smilling fellow citzen, so pride to be an American in spike of recession.

    November 24, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. AudreyinGa

    Get ready for President Obama in 2012 and his inauguration in January 2013!

    November 24, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |

    IIt will be Obama vs Palin. Palin wins in a landslide. President Obama is fired in 2012.

    November 24, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    Democratic congressmen spent a bunch of time and money distancing themselves from the Obama Administration and it's failed policies. It actually worked for a few of them. The problem for Democrats is that the ultra liberals will stick with Obama ( regardless of the effectiveness of his policies ) and moderates will come up with their own candidate. It will get ugly and the Independents will side with the Republicans who are already showing a new brand of leadership in Washington. This will be fun to watch play out.

    November 24, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    " the DEMS think they have someone better? "

    Yep...a white dude doing everything Obama secretlly instructs him to do from behind the scenes. He won't be even half as viable a target as Obama is for 99% of the BS we've been subjected to for the past 2 years from the right wing extremist demogogue corpoarte wh-re spin machine.

    November 24, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. stufthis

    Where is the republican plan to create jobs? Unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy using borrowed money from China does not count. How about a real plan Bonerites!

    November 24, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    No need for head scratching. We got the right man running this country. President Obama has put through groundbreaking reforms that were sorely needed in this country.
    In his quiet 'no drama' way he's delivered on many of his promises, AND saved the country fro going into a full tilt depression.
    He kept his head down, and his sleeves rolled up against insane opposition from the rabid right, and the spinelessness of the left.
    Obama 2012. There is no other choice.

    November 24, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. stufthis

    Obama deserves another term. There is no republican who has the spine to do what is in the best interest of Americans, as they are paid by and cater to the wealthiest 2% of Americans.

    November 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Bruce

    All this really means is that the race is completely scrambled. Speaking for myself, and I'm a Democrat, there is virtually no chance I'll vote to re-elect Obama, based on what I've seen over the past year; I'll vote for any alternative within the party and sit out the presidential race in November of 2012 if it comes to that, and not cast a vote for that job. He could still win, based on what we see from these results, but what it does mean that whoever wins is almost certainly not going to carry any large number of House or Senate members into office with them, and certainly not enough to attain full control of either part of Congress - which means that very little is likely to get done from 2012 thru 2016.

    November 24, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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