The fact that Palin sits near the top of the potential slate should be troubling news for Republicans looking past the primary and on to the general election. A PPP release earlier this week showed Palin with only a razor-thin lead over Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup, 45% to 44%. Meanwhile, the other three frontrunners all led Obama by between eight and 13 points in the same poll.
No Democrat has carried Nebraska in the general election since Lyndon Johnson pulled off the feat against Barry Goldwater in 1964 -- a year in which Johnson won all but six states. Before that, Nebraska had gone for the Republican candidate every year since 1936.
If Palin were to secure the GOP nomination, Obama would stand a chance of becoming the first Democratic presidential nominee in a half century to win the Cornhusker State.
The poll also reinforced what has emerged as a growing problem for Romney, his weakness with conservative voters. Twenty percent of conservatives backed Palin and Gingrich in the poll, while 21% went for Huckabee. Only 14% said they supported Romney.
The PPP poll was conducted January 26-27 among 519 registered Republican voters in Nebraska.