[Sarah] Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, had the support of 22 percent of the Republicans surveyed. The former governor of Alaska has not said whether she will run for president next year.
Romney, who failed in a 2008 presidential bid, had 20 percent support.
Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, and former pizza executive Herman Cain were tied for third with 7 percent each. . . .
In the Reuters/Ipsos poll, the other Republican contenders fared even worse than Romney's 13-point gap in a match-up with Obama. Palin trailed Obama by 23 points and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was behind by 19 points. . . . The poll, conducted Friday through Monday, surveyed 1,132 adults nationwide by telephone, including 948 registered voters. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
The story also notes that: "Other surveys have shown Romney in a stronger position. A Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this week gave Romney a slight lead over Obama among registered voters."
The fact that two polls in the same week have a 14 point plus gap in an identical Obama-Romney matchup each among registered voters suggests that one or both of the polls have far less accuracy than their sample size based margins of error would suggest. An average of the margins in the polls, which would give Obama an approximately six point lead over Romney in a head to head matchup with this, the most competitive of the possible Republican Presidential nominees, is probably a more realistic state of the 2012 Presidental race right now.
Historical reviews of the GOP field by pundits in recent months have noted that lack of a strong front runner this early in the 2012 field compared to other post-war Presidential primaries.