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But putting a specific Republican name into the question changes the picture. Mr. Obama leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by seven percentage points, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by 22 points, and Sen. John Thune of South Dakota by 20 points.

How do Democrats feel about a middle path?

In all, 63% of Democrats polled said they wanted to see Democratic leaders in Washington make compromises to gain consensus on legislation, about the same percentage of independents who expressed that view. Just 29% of Democrats said they would rather see their elected leaders stick to their positions, even if that meant not reaching any consensus.

Individually - President Obama is winning -

In particular, many Democrats appear to support an Obama shift toward the ideological center. Arthur Bullock, 53, who sells office equipment in Silver Spring, Md., said November's electoral loss has made Mr. Obama go "outside the box and go outside the Democratic line."

"I know you can't please everyone all the time," Mr. Bullock said. "But you've got to find that middle ground. Great presidents do that."

This is a President who was elected with 52% of the popular vote and is holding strong after two contentious years of teabagger onslaught.

Give the Wall Street Journal credit for a reason based poll analysis.

Originally posted to shrike on Wed Dec 15, 2010 at 07:10 PM PST.

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