LAS VEGAS -- President Barack Obama would handily defeat any of the Republican presidential candidates in Nevada if the election were held now, according to an 8 News Now/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll conducted by UNLV's Cannon Survey Center.
With a sample size of 600 registered voters and a 4 percent margin of error, Democrat Obama would defeat his closest rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 45.7 percent to 39.8 percent.
In a presidential caucus, Republicans favor Romney but his closest foe, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, trails within the 6.5 percent margin of error in that particular contest. This result reflects registered voters, but not likely caucus-goers.
The telephone poll, conducted Dec. 12 through Dec. 20, had Obama topping Texas Congressman Ron Paul 45.4 percent to 35.7 percent, Gingrich 47.3 to 35.4, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum 49.3 to 30.9, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman 48.8 to 30.1, Texas Gov. Rick Perry 50.8 to 31.1 and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann 50.2 to 27.1.
Among 117 independent voters polled, Romney edged Obama 34 percent to 32.3 percent. But Obama topped the other six Republicans, defeating Paul 37.5 to 31.5, Gingrich 39.5 to 28.5, Santorum 39.5 to 27.4, Huntsman 40.3 to 25.5, Perry 42 to 26.2 and Bachmann 40.5 to 24.1.
The 224 Republicans polled view the Republican field as a two-man race, with Romney defeating Gingrich 33.1 percent to 29.2 percent in a party caucus showdown. Paul was far behind at 12.7 percent, followed by Bachmann at 5 percent, Santorum at 3.4 percent, Huntsman at 2.9 percent and Perry at 2.5 percent.
Among Republican voters, Romney would defeat Obama 73.3 percent to 14.8 percent, the strongest showing among any of the Republicans against Obama.
Of the 259 Democrats polled, Obama would get more than three-quarters of the vote against any Republican he faced. The closest margin was 76.4 percent to 14.3 percent for Paul. Democrats favored Obama over Romney 78.5 to 13.4 and the president over Gingrich 79.3 to 8.9.