FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Here's something that should keep the Democrats up at night:
Sarah Palin isn't even a candidate for president - yet - and she's gaining major ground on the president.
A new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that the half-term, dropout governor of Alaska trails President Barack Obama by only 5 percentage points – 49% to 44% in a hypothetical matchup. Three months ago, Palin trailed Obama by 26 percentage points.
And even more troubling for the president: Palin now leads him among the all-important independent voters.
Let me remind you: Palin hasn't even announced she's running. She tells the F-word network that she's "one of those still considering" a run. She acknowledges she will have to decide soon since some of the early-voting states have a November deadline to get on the ballot.
But it's not all good for Palin. The bad news is that 72% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican don't want her to run.
As for the president, there are other disturbing findings in this survey:
A majority of those polled say the president will lose to the Republican nominee, whoever it is. Also, 49% say they definitely plan to vote against Obama. For independents, that number is even higher at 53%.
Pollsters say this shows how "the middle" is not Obama's right now. In order to win re-election, he will either need to win back independent voters or energize the base - in ways he hasn't so far.
Other hypothetical match-ups in this poll show the president leading Mitt Romney by a mere 2 points and Rick Perry by 9 points. These two men actually are candidates for president.
Here’s my question to you: What does it say about President Obama's chances in 2012 if Sarah Palin is within five points of him in one poll and she isn't even in the race?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Rahn in Minnesota:
It tells me that America is wising up to the fact that candidates of BOTH major political parties are equally worthless. Our elections have become a series of choices about which pile of political slop smells the least offensive, and most Americans are saying they can't tell any difference on the ONE issue that really matters this election cycle-THE ECONOMY.
Ken in Atlantic City, New Jersey:
Palin is irrelevant because she is not running. The gays got rid of “don't ask, don't tell”, the Hispanics are not facing deportation thanks to Obama, the hedge fund managers continue to make billions in the swaps market, and the blacks will vote for Obama even if black unemployment goes over 50%. Palin means nothing.
Larry in Texas:
It says several things if Palin is that close: Obama better panic like James Carville suggested. He better consider calling Hillary and asking her to run. But mainly it says that the American people are pretty dumb when it comes to the future if they think that Sarah Palin is the answer to our problems.
Brad in Portland, Oregon:
It won't mean anything if Palin doesn't run, or Perry becomes the nominee. The worst enemy of the Republicans' chances to win the presidency is the Republican base itself. If they pick someone too right wing or too crazy to be the Republican nominee, the independents will hold their noses and vote for Obama.
Brenda on Facebook:
Just goes to show that Americans are fed up and that any choice is better than what we currently have.
Palin is the only potential candidate in the field with enough name recognition and star power to beat Obama. Enough dissatisfied Independents will hold their noses and vote for Palin (despite her hard core religious leanings) to make it an even race. Once the Queen takes the Bishop (Romney), she will checkmate the King (Obama).