There is a great deal of debate going on about which Republican presidential candidate would likely fare the best versus President Obama this fall. The latest Rasmussen polling shows that all three leading GOP contenders are currently within 5 points of each other versus Obama, and all three are trailing him.

The polling at this point does not necessarily tell us much about how each candidate would fare in an election versus Obama more than nine months from now. Still, at this moment, Rasmussen shows Mitt Romney trailing Obama by 3 percentage points (46 to 43 percent), Newt Gingrich trailing by 7 points (48 to 41 percent), and Rick Santorum trailing by 8 points (48 to 40 percent). Ron Paul trails by 10 points (47 to 37 percent).

Gingrich and Santorum have both shown some minor improvement versus Obama over the course of Rasmussen’s polling during the GOP race. Gingrich is now 1 point closer to Obama than he has been on average (from -8 points to -7 points), while Santorum is now 2 points closer (from -10 points to -8 points). Conversely, Romney and Paul have both lost a bit of ground. Romney is now 2 points further back from Obama than he has been on average (from -1 point to -3 points), while Paul is 3 points further back (from -7 points to -10 points). These deficits are in spite of the fact that Obama continues to be well underwater in Rasmussen’s polling.

The conclusion? Obama is likely hoping that no one else enters this race (and therefore is likely hoping for a Romney win in Florida, which should keep the GOP establishment from clamoring for another entry).

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