Tales from the Trail

And then there were two… Republicans exploring presidential bid

Two Republicans have now stepped up to the plate! Well, technically they have stepped up to the plate to consider stepping up to the plate. USA-POLITCS/REPUBLICANS

Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are the first to declare their intentions to explore a possible run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Opinion polls show they have their work cut out for them.

The two Republicans who topped the list of potential candidates that Republicans would likely support for the party nomination were not Romney or Pawlenty in a new  CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee tied for first place, 19 percent, in the survey which was conducted before Romney announced formation of an exploratory committee. That compares with 12 percent for Sarah Palin, followed by a third-place tie between Romney and Newt Gingrich at 11 percent each.

While Romney has tended to draw skepticism from conservatives, in a straw poll of conservatives taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, he had a strong second-place showing after Libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul.

Obama up, Palin down in 2012 poll

President Barack Obama’s reelection prospects seem to be rosier, while former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s chances of being the Republican nominee were souring for 2012, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. But it’s early yet.

USA-ELECTION/Obama is expected to run again in 2012, and CNN said the poll suggests that his tax-cut deal with Republicans, pushed through at year-end, did not hurt him with Democrats.

Among Democrats, 78 percent said Obama should be renominated as the party’s presidential candidate, while 19 percent said they wanted a different candidate. Those readings were the highest and lowest respectively since March 2010, when the poll first asked the question.

Another poll comes out in favor of gays in the military

As Congress mulls “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a new poll finds support for repealing it.

A CNN poll showed that 78 percent, or nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. MILITARY-GAYS/

The results of the survey of 1,023 adults, conducted May 21-23, were similar to earlier polls — 81 percent in Dec. 19-21, 2008 and 79 percent in May 4-6, 2007.

Public forecast for Afghan strategy – stalemate

Americans have doubts over whether President Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy will ultimately result in victory, but a majority say the war is morally justified.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp poll finds that 57 percent said the most likely outcome for the United States in Afghanistan would be a stalemate, with 29 percent predicting victory.

AFGHANISTAN-USA/When asked whether a victory was possible or not possible, 58 percent of those surveyed said it was possible, while 41 percent said it was not possible.

Will latest polls weigh on Obama?

President Barack Obama summoned his war council today for what may be a pivotal meeting as he decides what to do in Afghanistan. OBAMAWhile Obama weighs up his options on whether to send in more troops — with most money on about 30,000 more – he might also glance at the latest round of public opinion polls on Afghanistan.One by the Pew Research Center put Obama’s favorable job rating on Afghanistan at 36 percent, sharply down from 49 percent in July.On troop levels in Afghanistan, 40 percent say there should be fewer U.S. soldiers, 32 percent approve of an increase while 19 percent say current troop levels are satisfactory.A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today found that 56 percent of respondents opposed sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan while 42 percent supported additional forces.Which way are you leaning? More troops, less, the same? Stay, go, the status quo? As commander-in-chief, will Obama go the way of Goldilocks and take the middle road, or will there be a surprise?Click here for more Reuters political coveragePhoto credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama making statement about Fort Hood shootings)