In it, but not of it. TPM DC
Romney has been trending up in hypothetical presidential contests for a few months now, yet he consistently trailed President Obama until the end of October when he scored a 50% to 45% victory in a CNN poll. Since then, at least three more polls, including the recent one from McClathcy-Marist, have shown Romney coming out on top.
Among other prospective candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, none poll as well in direct matchups with President Obama. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is running dead even with Obama at 45.4% in the latest TPM Poll Average, while Obama holds a 49% to 44.8% edge over Newt Gingrich.
Sarah Palin fares worst among presumptive front-runners for the Republican nomination, trailing Obama by a 50.3% to 40.2% margin.
All the usual caveats apply: the election is almost two years out, campaigning hasn't begun, and a lot can change between now and then. Remember, Rudy Giuliani was the GOP frontrunner heading into the 2008 elections.
Also of note is that while Romney polls best among all voters against Obama, he does not, at least yet, appear to be Republicans' first choice. Early polls of registered Republican voters have shown mixed results, with no candidate breaking away from the pack.