A McClatchy-Marist poll released on Wednesday shows Mitt Romney in a statistical deadheat with President Barack Obama. Obama leads Romney, 46 percent to 45 percent.
The one-point margin represents a dramatic improvement for the former Massachusetts governor, who trailed Obama 51 percent to 38 percent in a McClatchy-Marist poll conducted this past January.
Mike Huckabee was the second-most competitive Republican polled, trailing Obama 48 percent to 43 percent, also a large improvement from the January poll, in which Obama led 50 percent to 38 percent.
However, other potential Republican candidates do not fair as well. Despite Donald Trump’s recent media spotlight and self-generated presidential buzz, the real estate tycoon trails Obama 54 percent to 38 percent.
Former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin fares even worse, trailing Obama 56 percent to 34 percent.
A troubling indicator for Trump and Palin is the defection level among Republicans in their hypothetical match-ups against President Obama. Obama would steal 18 percent of Republicans in a contest against Trump and 20 percent in a contest against Palin. Republican defections for Huckabee and Romney are only 8 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
The McClatchy-Marist numbers are in line with a majority of recent polls that show Palin and Trump trailing far behind Obama, and Romney and Huckabee managing to keep their deficit against Obama within the margin of error.