In an open-ended Republican primary question, Romney has a slight lead over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 21 percent to 17 percent. The third-place candidate, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, earns just eight percent of the vote.
But Romney has baggage to contend with before he makes it to a showdown with Obama. By a two-to-one margin, Republicans oppose "the health care reform plan that ... Romney put into place in Massachusetts." Still, 20 percent of those who oppose that health care reform plan still support him for the nomination, and 88 percent support him against Obama.
Though Palin finishes second in the primary, she trails Obama by 15 points in a general-election matchup, and 64 percent of Americans say they definitely would not vote for her for president.
Obama trails Romney among registered voters, but he defeats other Republican candidates, even crossing the 50-percent threshold against each of them. He leads Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. (51 percent to 40 percent); former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (50 percent to 44 percent); former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (50 percent to 40 percent); Palin (55 percent to 40 percent); and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (50 percent to 41 percent).
The poll was conducted June 2-5 by Langer Research Associates, among a sample of 1,002 adults. Results among adults have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent; the margin of error is higher for subgroups.