Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts who has formally declared his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, would beat Obama by 2 points, 51 percent to 49 percent, if the election were held today, a Harris Poll released Wednesday said.
Giuliani, a former mayor of New York who made a short run at the nomination in 2008 but has not declared an intention to run this time, bested Obama by 6 points in the Harris poll, 53 percent to 47 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who is running for president and not seeking re-election to Congress, split the vote with Obama, 50 percent to 50 percent.
However, the race for the GOP nomination is still in its infancy. More than a quarter of Republican voters surveyed, 28 percent, said they do not know who they will support in the primary election, and only three declared candidates in the race enjoy national name recognition above 50 percent: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (72 percent), Romney (67 percent) and Paul (52 percent). U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was recognized by 50 percent of the voters polled; however, among Republicans only 6 percent said they planned to vote for her in the primary.
The online Harris poll surveyed 2,183 adults July 11-18. Harris does not report margins of error.