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GOP desperately seeking Mr. Popular

From NBC's Mark Murray
We can tell you one thing about the current Karl Rove-vs.-Joe Biden spat: Democrats are loving every second of it.

Why? Because -- as with Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh before him -- the public has a very sour opinion of Rove. "We're not too worried that Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, and Dick Cheney are battling it out to remain the face of the Republican Party," a Dem strategist emails First Read. "Every time Rove pops up, it just serves to remind people what they wanted to change."

Indeed, Republicans seem to be having a difficult time finding a leader/messenger who doesn't have a net-negative fav/unfav rating go mano a mano with the Obama administration.

An August 2007 Gallup poll showed Rove's standing at 26% favorable, 44% unfavorable. Another Gallup poll early this year had Limbaugh's at 28%-45%. Per the December 2008 NBC/WSJ poll, Cheney's was 21%-58%. George W. Bush's in the NBC/WSJ survey was 31%-58% upon leaving office. Even looking at potential 2012 presidential candidates, Sarah Palin, who speaks at a National Right to Life dinner in Indiana next week, has a 35%-45% fav/unfav, according to the December NBC/WSJ poll.

The only major Republican who has a net-positive rating -- John McCain, who stood at 42%-27% in the March NBC/WSJ survey.

Of course, Democrats struggled to find a leader when they were out of power during the Bush years. Then again, they were always able to turn to the Clintons, whose ratings were much better than those GOP numbers above.