Public Policy Polling has the following results in their first national poll of 2012:
Ron Paul matches Romney’s performance against Obama, also trailing by 5 points at 47-42. Beyond those two Newt Gingrich trails by 7 at 49-42, Rick Santorum has an 8 point deficit at 50-42, and Rick Perry trails by 11 points at 51-40.
Stephen Colbert wants to run for President but he’s not on the ballot in South Carolina. Americans Elect is on the ballot in a lot of states but doesn’t have a candidate. Could Colbert and Americans Elect’s interests intersect? We find Colbert getting 13% in a hypothetical third party run for President, compared to 41% for Obama and 38% for Romney. A Colbert bid could be a blessing in disguise for the GOP. His voters go for Obama over Romney 52-38 in a straight head to head, so his presence as a potential candidate works to the Republicans’ advantage.
36% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 28% with a negative one. His 36% favorability is better than the entire GOP field. Romney’s at 35%, Santorum at 30%, Paul at 27%, Gingrich at 26%, and Perry at 21%. Colbert’s popular with Democrats (47/21) and independents (43/26) but not with Republicans (18/39) despite his best efforts to run as one of their Presidential candidates.
In a more plausible third party scenario Gary Johnson gets 7% as the Libertarian candidate to 47% for Obama and 40% for Romney. His voters go 33-27 for Romney in a head to head so his bid is of slight benefit to Obama.
Full results here
As far as I know, Colbert has not announced any interest in the Americans Elect nomination, nor has there been any indication whether the group’s candidate credential committee would find him “acceptable.”
The results for Johnson, while far higher than anything the Libertarians have ever actually pulled in a presidential race, are not out of line with what hypothetical Libertarian tickets have polled at this stage in past cycles. For example, following his announcement, Rasmussen Reports had Barr polling at 6% nationwide; he ended up with 0.4% of the vote – and every Libertarian presidential ticket since 1984 has ended up between 0.3% and 0.5% in actual votes.
While the poll shows Johnson pulling slightly more from Romney, Johnson himself has repeatedly speculated in TV interviews that he might pull more votes away from Obama.