Obama holds big 2012 lead over Republicans By John Whitesides Wed Jun 8, 1:58 pm ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) â 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 on 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 as pricier gasoline, persistently high unemployment and a weak housing market chipped away at public confidence. Obama leads all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins, the poll showed. He is ahead of his closest Republican rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, by 13 percentage points -- 51 percent to 38 percent. "Obama's position has gotten a little stronger over the last couple of months as the public mood has evened out, and as an incumbent he has some big advantages over his rivals," Ipsos pollster Cliff Young said. "Until Republicans go through a primary season and select a nominee, they are going to be at a disadvantage in the head-to-head matchups in name recognition." Obama, who got a boost in the polls last month with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is amassing an election campaign warchest likely to be larger than the record $750 million he raised in 2008. Sarah Palin and Romney lead the Republicans battling for the right to challenge Obama in the November 2012 election. Palin, the party's vice presidential nominee in 2008, had the support of 22 percent of the Republicans surveyed. The former governor of Alaska has not said whether she will run for president next year. Romney, who failed in a 2008 presidential bid, had 20 percent support. Representative Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican from Texas, and former pizza executive Herman Cain were tied for third with 7 percent each.