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Less than Half Think Obama Will Win Re-Election, Poll Finds

President Barack Obama speaks about Egypt during a press availability at the White House, February 4, 2011.
CBS

Roughly 51 percent of Americans expect President Obama to lose his 2012 re-election bid, a new CNN/ Opinion Research Corporation poll has found. Fewer -- 46 percent -- said they expect the president to win re-election.

While that seems like bad news, it's important to consider this bit of context: When the same question was asked in 1995, 65 percent of Americans expected President Bill Clinton to lose his re-election bid, and just 24 percent said he would win. Mr. Clinton, of course, went on to win a second term.

The new poll finds that 26 percent of registered voters will definitely vote for Mr. Obama in the 2012 election, and another 23 percent will probably vote for him. Thirty-five percent said they will not vote for him, and 16 percent they will probably not.

Republicans and Republican-leaning voters surveyed were also asked in the poll about who will represent their party in the presidential race. Interestingly, there was some deviation between which candidate voters would like to see as the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and which candidate voters expect to see as the nominee.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee topped the list of preferred candidates at 21 percent, with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin following at 19 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was close behind with support from 18 percent of Republicans, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was backed by 10 percent of Republicans.

Yet just 13 percent expect Huckabee to win the GOP nomination. A quarter of Republican voters expect Romney to win, while 24 percent expect Palin to win.

Ideological purity was not these voters' top concern: Nearly seven out of 10 said they would prefer a nominee who could beat Mr. Obama over a candidate in line with all of their political beliefs.