ABC News' David Chalian Reports:
Yes, it is far too early to be polling potential 2012 matchups. They are nearly meaningless at this stage (and for the next several stages) of the game. But in the doldrums of August, these poll numbers are far too much fun to resist.The Marist Poll is out with new numbers today showing President Obama soundly defeating former Gov. Sarah Palin 56 percent to 33 percent if they were the candidates in the 2012 election and if it was strangely held in August 2009.There are a couple of clear and important warning signs for Gov. Palin in these early numbers. She appears unable to create the near monolithic support among voters in her own party. In this poll, Gov. Palin only receives support from 73% of Republicans. Gov. Palin’s outsized popularity with a segment of the Republican Party may not necessarily translate to the entire Republican electorate in a general election. By comparison, Sen. McCain garnered 90% of the Republican vote in his defeat to Barack Obama last November.It also appears Gov. Palin has some continued work to do to turn her high profile resignation into a political plus. 61 percent of those polled said her resignation was a bad political move, according to Marist. In fact, among Republicans, 51 percent believe stepping down from office the way she did may have potentially damaged her political future.Perhaps the most devastating number in this poll for Sarah Palin is the basic measurement of her popularity with the American electorate. Her numbers are upside down with 43 percent of respondents view her unfavorably, compared with 37 percent of respondents who hold a favorable view.The Marist folks also took a look at the 2012 Republican field. For all her name recognition and popularity among a segment of the Republican Party, Sarah Palin is in a three-way battle for 2012 GOP frontrunner. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney scores 21 percent support, Palin comes in at 20 percent, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gets 19 percent in the poll of Republican voters.