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Poll shows bad signs for Trump, Palin, other potential 2012 GOP candidates

Last week, a Rasmussen poll showed that Donald Trump was riding the birther conspiracy theory wave in becoming the Republican Party’s unlikely frontrunner for the 2012 presidential nomination. But a new survey seems to indicate that the 19-percent support Trump has among likely Republican primary voters is just about the full extent of the reality star’s backing among the general population.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, just 9 percent of likely voters said they were enthusiastic about a Trump candidacy. While about one in four voters said they’d consider voting for Trump if he ran, that number may simply represent Americans who would vote for any Republican over President Obama. Indeed, an even bigger sign that a Trump run would end poorly is the fact that 58 percent of voters said they wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump under any circumstances. Earlier this week, Trump made an unofficial pre-announcement of sorts (“In my mind, I have already decided.”) that he’d be starting up a campaign in earnest once the current season of “Celebrity Apprentice” wraps up.

Although Sarah Palin has made little noise lately about mounting a campaign, the poll shows that she would face a similar challenge if she does end up running. Garnering 15 percent in enthusiastic support, she fared better than Trump among her base, but she matched him in opposition: 58 percent said they would not consider voting for Palin.

Trump and Palin received the most outright opposition by a long shot, but few from the field of potential candidates came out well. Enthusiasm for Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty was at sub-Trump levels.

Mitt Romney emerged as the leading candidate among them all. He tied Palin in enthusiasm — at 15 percent, they both led the field — but fared far better in terms of having a decent number of voters who were open to voting for him (38 percent) and much lower categorical opposition (26 percent said they’d never vote for him).

Mike Huckabee trailed Romney in all fields, but still ended the poll in second place, all categories considered.

Still, even if all signs are pointing to a Romney or Huckabee candidacy, either man will face an uphill battle trying to unseat President Obama in 2012. Obama has beaten both Romney and Huckabee in virtually all polls pitting them against each other in a hypothetical election. All such surveys come from before the weekend’s news that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed by U.S. military forces, which has so far sent Obama’s approval ratings surging by 11 percent.

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