June 8 - Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Obama holds significant lead over possible Republican rivals in the 2012 election despite a lagging economy. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama retains a big lead over possible Republican rivals in the 2012 election despite anxiety about the economy and the country's future, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday. Obama's approval rating inched up 1 percentage point from May to 50 percent. But, the number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track also rose on economic fears. The poll shows Obama leads all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute SOUNDBITE: Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, saying (English): "It's real early. To a large extent, the Republican candidates are not known well. They are not really on TV advertising. You don't have a campaign, you sort of have is a popularity contest, and the better known president wins that sort of popularity contest." The economy is expected to play a leading role in the election. SOUNDBITE: Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, saying (English): "The economy is always what elections are all about. Americans by and large do not vote on foreign policy issues unless there's something really unpopular like the war in Iraq was for George W. Bush or the Vietnam war back in the 60s. And for all the intensity we put into social issues, Americans don't vote on social issues either. It's the economy, stupid." Obama is ahead of his closest Republican rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, by 13 percentage points -- 51 percent to 38 percent. Obama has a a 23 point edge over Sarah Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, who has not said whether she will run for president next year. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters