The Washington Times - January 21, 2011, 01:11PM

Since President Obama’s party took a self-acknowledged “shellacking” in the November congressional elections, the Democrat has increased his lead over four 2012 Republican White House frontrunners, a new polls shows.

Results of a Public Policy Poll survey released Thursday shows Obama with a 5-percentage point lead over Mitt Romney — 48 percent to 43 percent — compared with a 1-point advantage over the former Massachusetts governor in a PPP survey taken after the Nov. 2 elections.

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Obama would defeat Newt Gingrich by 12 points (51 percent to 39 percent) — double his November lead over the former House speaker — would beat former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee by 5 points (49-44), compared with 3 points two months ago, and would top former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by 17 points (55-38), an 8-point improvement.

The PPP poll also says Obama also trounce GOP “wild-card” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who has been rumored to be considering a White House bid, by 18 percentage points.

A majority of Americans — 51 percent (including 56 percents of independent voters) — say the GOP would be better off with a current unknown as their nominee, the poll shows. But 47 percent of Republican voters say they are satisfied with this crop, compared with 35 percent disapproval.

“Barack Obama is in his strongest position for re-election in our polling since 2009,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “Democrats have really rallied around him since the party’s defeat in November and he continues to benefit from a pretty weak field of potential opponents.”

The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling conducted the national survey Jan. 14-16. The poll’s margin of error is 3.9 percent.