It may be early, and even “too close to call,” but Mitt Romney is currently beating Barack Obama in the latest 2012 presidential poll.
According to a Qunnipiac University poll of likely registered voters released Monday, the former Massachusetts governor leads Obama 45-44 percent. The lead, however, does fall within the two point margin of error.
Still, in encouraging news for the Romney camp, he leads Obama in one of the most important voter categories — independents. That group backed Romney over Obama 46-35 percent.
Obama also lost independent voters to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who leads the president 47 percent-40 percent in that voting block.
The poll also shows that Americans do not believe Obama deserves a second term: respondents voted 49-43 to deny him re-election.
Among other top GOP contenders, Huckabee trails Obama 46-44 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is behind by eight points, 48 percent-40 percent.
Still, the poll suggests Palin would win the GOP nomination.
“In a mythical Republican primary Ms. Palin gets 19 percent, including 25 percent of GOP women,” the poll says, “followed by Romney with 18 percent, Huckabee at 17 percent, Gingrich at 15 percent, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at 6 percent and Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota at 2 percent each.”