The headline at The Washington Post, quite predictably, is that Sarah Palin’s poll numbers are terrible.

But the more important story for 2012 is that Barack Obama has lost 44% of the voters, and has weak core support (emphasis mine):

Still, the survey shows limits to Obama’s appeal. More than four in 10 voters – 44 percent – say they would not even consider voting for him in 2012, with about one in four definitively behind him. Among independents, 40 percent say they would not vote for him, 36 percent say they would consider it and 21 percent say they would certainly back him.

This number is consistent with polling over the past two years which shows that Obama has lost — irretrievably — a percentage of voters in the mid-40s range.

As I’ve pointed out before, the most important poll I have seen was taken by Democratic pollster PPP in October 2009, asking the provocative question, “Do you think that Barack Obama loves America?”

The responses were as follows: Yes (59%), No (26%), Not Sure (14%). I have not seen a similar question polled since then, but I would venture to guess the numbers would be even more negative. But even using those more than year-old numbers, the picture is bleak for Obama when 40% of the voters either think he does not love America, or are not sure.

This mid-40s anti-Obama vote is consistent with polling on whether Obama was born in Hawaii, with a majority either uncertain or believing Obama was born elsewhere.

Charles Krauthammer believes that Obama already is the comeback kid because of the “tax deal.” 

I have made that point before, but there are limits to how far Obama can come.  Obama has lost approximately 45% of the population, and he will not get that vote back no matter what he does.

As with 2010, in 2012 the key will be whether Obama can recapture the base and moderate Democrats, and the independents.  The Washington Post poll indicates that Obama remains weak with independents, definitely having lost 40% of them.

Taking 45% of voters overall and 40% of independents off the table leaves Obama little room to maneuver.

With a weak Obama who has little margin for error, does this make the choice of Republican even more important? 

Let’s rekindle the “conservative and uninspiring but low negatives” versus “conservative and dynamic but high negatives” debate.

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