A new Gallup poll indicates if the Presidential election were held today, nearly half of all registered voters would vote for a nameless "generic" Republican before they would vote for President Barack Obama.

Gallup's June update shows 44 percent of registered voters are more likely to vote for "the Republican Party candidate" in the 2012 Presidential election, compared to 39% who say they would vote for Barack Obama.

The poll finds Republican and Democratic registered voters supporting their party's candidate at similar levels, with independents breaking more for the Republican than for Obama. A substantial 26% of independent voters do not have a preference.

Gallup's editors stress that a five percentage point edge is not a statistically significant lead, and neither side has held a meaningful lead at any point thus far in 2011.

Voters' uncertainty about what they might do in the 2012 election is also apparent in the 18% who do not have a preference for Obama or the Republican at this point.

via 2012 Voter Preferences for Obama, "Republican" Remain Close.

The poll indicates despite this lead, Republicans shouldn't start feeling over-confident.  The campaign is just getting started, and anything can happen between now and the primaries and general election.

In June 1991 and June 2003, both Bushes had high approval ratings and huge leads over generic Democratic opponents.  Bush 41 lost the next election, and Bush 43 won re-election by a narrow margin.

Conversely, many candidates who were behind in June went on to win the Oval Office.  Ronald Reagan trailed Walter Mondale in 1983 and Bill Clinton was five points behind Bob Dole in 1995, but both won the election the following year.