Poll: Clinton Could Beat Obama in 2012 Presidential Primary

Hillary Clinton is the runaway choice to challenge President Obama in 2012.

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As President Obama continues to face grim comparisons to Jimmy Carter, due to the faltering economy and high unemployment rate, the issue of a Democratic presidential primary challenge to him in 2012 is starting to emerge. Just as Carter faced a challenge from the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, there's a long-shot that Obama could face a challenger too.

If he was to face a challenge, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is best poised to challenge him, according to a new Washington Whispers poll. Some 61 percent said Clinton, a 2008 primary challenger to Obama when she was a New York senator, could beat the president in a primary. [See a slide show of Obama's inner circle.]

Clinton, who's very popular in her current role, has suggested that she doesn't plan to serve two four-year terms as secretary of state and also that she doesn't want to run for the presidency again. She is still trying to retire her 2008 campaign debt, reportedly at less than $1 million.

In our Internet poll, conducted by Synovate-eNation, Clinton was the overwhelming choice to take on and beat Obama across every demographic when compared to four other prominent Democrats, including former Vice President Al Gore. She did very well among the poor, those aged 55-64, families with children, minorities, and the unemployed.

If the economy and employment continue to tank, President Obama might find himself in a primary fight just as Jimmy Carter did in 1980. Which of the following Democrats could beat Obama in 2012?

Hillary Clinton 61%

Al Gore 12%

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson 12%

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark 11%

Sen. Al Franken 4%

Source: The Synovate eNation Internet poll was conducted July 16-20 among 1,000 nationally representative households by global market research firm Synovate.

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