Democrats also are more apt to count Bloomberg out -- 50 percent say they wouldn't consider him, dropping to 41 percent of independents and 37 percent of Republicans. (Bloomberg ran for mayor as a Republican, but New York City Republicans don't always play off-Broadway, as Rudy Giuliani can attest. In any case, Bloomberg later switched to independent status.)
Bloomberg, it should be noted, said this weekend that he would not run for president, responding to speculation that arose after he gave a centrist speech last week scolding both major parties.
HEAD-TO-HEAD -- In a two-way matchup, the first by ABC and the Post this cycle (and presumably not the last) 54 percent say they'd support Obama for president in 2012, vs. 39 percent for Palin. (It's essentially the same among registered voters, 53-40 percent.)
Adding Bloomberg to the race as an independent makes no substantive difference; he draws equally from Obama and Palin, producing standings of 47-31-18 percent. While far from a winning tally, that 18 percent nearly matches independent Ross Perot's vote total in 1992, the best showing by an independent candidate since Teddy Roosevelt's attempted comeback 80 years earlier.
METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 9-12, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error. This survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.
ABC News polls can be found at ABCNEWS.com at http://abcnews.com/pollingunit