A new poll whose results were published on Sunday shows that if the U.S. presidential elections were held today, it would be a very close race between the Democrats and the Republicans.
According to the poll by Rasmussen Reports, the two strongest candidates against President Barack Obama right now would be Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, but both of them would be essentially tied with Obama. Romney would receive 44 percent to Obama’s 42 percent, while Huckabee and the president would each receive 43 percent of the vote.
The poll looked at three other well-known potential candidates: Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. All three trail Obama, with Palin at 38 percent compared to Obama’s 49 percent, Gingrich at 39 percent compared to 47 percent, and Paul by at 35 percent compared to 44 percent for the president.
The poll looked at seven additional, lesser-known candidates, all of whom trailed by anywhere from 10 to 17 percentage points. The poll’s most significant finding is that regardless of the Republican candidate who will face off against Obama, the president earns between 42 and 49 percent of the votes.
Rasmussen Reports pointed out that should Obama’s job approval ratings improve from this point forward, his support will likely increase against all Republican candidates. If his job approval ratings fall, on the other hand, his numbers are likely to weaken against all potential candidates.
The report notes that “a great deal of caution must be taken in terms of interpreting individual results,” as at this point it is unclear who will seek the Republican nomination and who will ultimately be nominated.
The poll’s results suggest that the campaign is starting off in a fairly competitive environment. However, Rasmussen Reports cautions that much can change in the next year-and-a-half.
Potential Republican candidates visit Israel
Huckabee, whom the poll predicted would come in very close to Obama, visited Israel last week, and warned in the Knesset that Islamic fundamentalism could threaten not only Israel, but also the entire world.
“A threat upon Israel is a threat upon all those in the world who love peace and freedom... Radical Islamic jihadism is an anti-freedom threat,“ Huckabee said during his visit, and added that “Good Israeli-U.S. relations are not just an option. They are rather a necessity for both sides, and an obligation upon all of us in the American government.”
Huckabee also spoke against freezing Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. “I don’t see why bedrooms for their children built by Jews on a hilltop in Samaria pose a threat to world peace," he said. “It's the lack of construction that is irrational, not the opposite... Those who aim their rifles at Jewish babies are irrational; the danger is not the weapons, but the hatred behind the weapons.”
Huckabee also toured Judea and Samaria during his visit. He told Israel National News TV that while he supports establishing a Palestinian state, he does not support doing so on the Land of Israel.
Romney also visited Israel last month and met with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The two discussed issues such as the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as the dangers and challenges of the Iranian nuclear program.
This week, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who has also mulled running for the Republican nomination, is visiting Israel. Barbour is holding meetings with senior leaders in Israel, including Netanyahu, and will be making a major address at the Herzliya Conference on Wednesday.