Nate Silver has a wonderful post comparing the 2012 Republican field to Republican and Democratic fields since 1999. The bad news for Republicans is that this year there are no candidates who enjoy double-digit net positive opinions among the electorate. Huckabee leads the field with 40% positive and 32% negative (a net positive of 8%). Gingrich (-14) and Palin (-23) bring up the rear.
In recent prior election cycles (2000, 2004, 2008), at this point before the elections each party had at least two candidates with double-digit positives — but not the Republicans this year.
Ironically, I think that several possible Republican candidates have views and talents that might make them better than average presidents, but I see no one who as yet looks to be a better than average candidate to win the presidency.
Among those not in Silver’s analysis, I like Chris Christie, but he has been very emphatic that he is not a candidate: “Short of suicide, I don’t really know what I’d have to do to convince you people that I’m not running. I’m not running!”
If the economy continues to improve (as I think it will), I think that President Obama will be hard to beat.