U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, would defeat President Barack Obama in a head-to-head race for the presidency, according to a new Newsmax/SurveyUSA poll.
Newsmax conducted the survey to find out how several well-known political and "dark-horse" celebrity figures, ranging from Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Bill Gates to Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, and Glenn Beck, would fare if they ran against Obama for the White House.
The survey of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Nov. 3-4, after Republicans won the House and gained six seats in the Senate in the midterm elections — results widely interpreted as a rejection of
Obama and raising questions about his chances for re-election in 2012.
In the Newsmax poll, respondents were asked: “If there were an election for president of the United States today, and the only two names on the ballot were David Petraeus and Barack Obama, whom would you vote for?”
], who formerly served as head of coalition forces in Iraq as well as leading the U.S. Central Command, has denied that he has any political ambitions. But observers feel he would be a strong candidate if he decided to campaign for the White House — a sentiment that the Newsmax poll results confirm.
Overall, Petraeus received 52 percent of the votes to Obama’s 48 percent, the best head-to-head showing of any potential candidate in the Newsmax survey with the exception of Hillary Clinton, who received 60 percent.
The results showing a figure with no political experience outpolling a sitting president suggest that Americans lack confidence in Obama on national security and the war on terror, and that he could be vulnerable to a military figure in 2012. Americans may also like the idea of a nonpartisan "get things done" general could be good for the nation as it faces growing economic problems.
Men favored Petraeus over Obama by a wider margin, 59 percent to 41 percent.
Petraeus, who holds a Ph.D. in international relations, also outpolled Obama among the younger age groups, which previously had been considered solid Obama territory. Voters 18 to 54 years of age gave Petraeus 53 percent, and those 35 to 49 favored the general with 54 percent.
Republicans overwhelmingly supported Petraeus, giving him 83 percent of the vote, as did conservatives (86 percent). Significantly, independents also backed the general, with 54 percent.
Obama polled strongest among blacks (75 percent) and liberals (82 percent).
Newsmax will reveal the results of hypothetical races between Obama and other famous Americans in the coming days.
SurveyUSA is an independent research company that conducts public opinion polls for media and academic institutions, and conducts private market research for commercial clients and nonprofit organizations.
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