Just shy of a majority of registered voters, 49 percent, say they definitely plan to vote against Barack Obama in 2012, but just 36 percent say they definitely plan to vote for him, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. Combined with the poll finding Obama job approval rating at a new record low, Obama is in serious trouble.

The one big bright spot for Obama in the poll is that despite voters turning against Obama, they are showing very little desire to embrace the Republican candidates currently running for President. In head to head match ups, Obama leads Mitt Romney 46-44; he leads Rick Perry 50-41, and he leads Michelle Bachmann 53-40.

Amazingly, even though 49 percent of voters in the same polling say they “definitely” plan to vote against Obama, he still maintains sizeable leads over either Perry or Bachmann.  It appears Bachmann is such an unacceptable candidate that even some people who are committed to voting against Obama would very reluctantly back Obama to keep her out of the White House.

It seems the upcoming presidential election is shaping up as a “lesser of two evils” election for many swing voters. The public is extremely disappointed with Obama, presumably because he  hasn’t turned around the economy, but at the same time the voters are not comfortable with the possible Republican alternatives.

Don’t be surprised if the 2012 Presidential election ends up being extremely negative. With low approval numbers, the Obama campaign may see its best option as doing whatever it takes to make the Republican candidate unacceptable, and the Republican candidate will have the same incentives. This is also a dynamic that could potentially encourage a Ross Perot like character to try to run.