Another tidbit from Marist's new poll: in what Marist bills as a "VERY Hypothetical Matchup" for 2012, President Obama dominates a presidential race against Sarah Palin and an independent Michael Bloomberg, who have hypothetically stepped up to challenge him.
Marist's results: Obama 44%, Palin 29%, Bloomberg 15%, with 12% unsure of how they'd vote. The question was asked of 910 registered voters nationwide Feb. 1-3, margin of error +/-3.5%.
Obama is helped by Bloomberg's independent run, which collects votes from 20% of Republicans while only taking 4% of Democrats.
Among the myriad things that could change between now and 2012, one of them is party identification. Marist's response pool, narrowed by its own specifications, had 36% self-identified Democrats, 28% Republicans, and 34% independents, which is differentially along the same lines as the Pollster.com average among major polls (32% Democrat, 24.4% Republican, and 38.2% independent).
Party ID will likely change between now and 2012. Right now, it looks as if Republicans are poised to make up a bit of the deficit they ran in 2008, but how it will change is anybody's guess.