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Voters See Gingrich, Romney As Strongest GOP Opponents for Obama

Voters rate Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney evenly when asked which Republican presidential candidate would run strongest against President Obama, but among GOP voters, Gingrich is the clear favorite.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of Likely U.S. Voters think Gingrich would be the strongest opponent against Obama in the general election, while 29% say the same of Romney. All the other major Republican hopefuls are in single digits.

Eight percent (8%) rate Texas Congressman Ron Paul as the strongest Republican to run against the president, and seven percent (7%) think that of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Trailing on the list are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with five percent (5%), Texas Governor Rick Perry (3%) and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (1%). Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among Republican voters, however, 49% believe Gingrich would be the strongest general election candidate. Just 24% say the same of Romney.

Among voters not affiliated with either of the two major parties, 32% see the former Massachusetts governor as stronger while 24% seethe ex-House speaker in that role.

In a survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters at the end of last month, Gingrich was ahead with 38% support, with Romney a distant second at 17%.  It was the largest lead held yet by any candidate in the race for the GOP nomination. But Gingrich trails Obama - 45% to 40% in their latest matchup, while Romney continues to run neck-and-neck with the president.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 10-11, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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