http://www.rasmussenreports.com/pub...012/election_2012_generic_presidential_ballot Election 2012: Generic Presidential Ballot Generic Republican 45%, Obama 43% Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Voters remain fairly evenly divided over whether they want to give President Obama a second term in the White House. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a Generic Republican currently earns support from 45% of Likely Voters across the nation, while the president attracts 43% of the vote. A week ago, the president had an equally modest edge. Rasmussen Reports will provide new data on this generic match-up each week until the field of prospective Republican nominees narrows to a few serious contenders. (To see survey question wording, click here.) These results are consistent with the fact that the presidentâs Job Approval rating has hovered in the high-40s for most of the past 18 months. On Election Day in 2012, it is reasonable to assume that the presidentâs vote total will be close to his Job Approval. What is impossible to determine at this point is where the presidentâs Job Approval will be in the fall of next year. Eighty-two percent (82%) of Democrats prefer the president, while 83% of Republicans support the generic candidate from their party. Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 42% support the Republican and 36% are ready to vote for President Obama. Last week, the president had a very slight advantage among unaffiliated voters. One challenge for the president at this time is that the number of people who consider themselves Democrats today is down significantly from the fall of 2008. The biggest unknown from the GOP side is who will be the partyâs nominee? Rasmussen Reports polling shows that Mitt Romney and Chris Christie could lead the pack if Christie enters the race. âThe GOP campaign is so wide open that itâs impossible to even predict who will enter the race and who will drop out,â noted Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. âThe underlying dynamics suggest that someone could enter as late as Thanksgiving or Christmas and be a serious contender. With Huckabee and Trump opting out, some of the lesser known candidates will now have an opportunity to gain some traction among the party activists.â The survey of 3,500 Likely Voters was conducted on May 9-15, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology. Other indicators suggesting the election could be close if held today include the fact that the president attracts between 42% and 49% of the vote against all prospective Republican candidates. Additionally, on the Generic Congressional Ballot, Republicans continue to hold a modest advantage. It is important to note that results could change dramatically over the next year-and-a-half, particularly as perceptions of the economy change. The president currently receives good marks for his handling of national security issues following the killing of Osama bin Laden but weaker reviews on the economy. Perception of personal finances have tumbled over the past two-and-a-half years. On the night before Lehman Brothers collapsed, 43% of Americans rated their own finances as good or excellent. That fell to 35% by the time Obama took office. Currently, just 30% rate their finances in such a positive manner. Rasmussen Reports updates these figures and overall levels of consumer and investor confidence on a daily basis. Voters currently trust Republicans more than Democrats when it comes to the economy. However, when it comes to the fiscal policy issues surrounding the federal budget, voters are skeptical about both sides and overwhelmingly believe that nothing significant will be accomplished before the 2012 election.