December 5th, 2008
04:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Huckabee and Palin top early 2012 list

Poll suggests Gov. Sarah Palin is a 2012 presidential hopeful.
Poll suggests Gov. Sarah Palin is a 2012 presidential hopeful.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is still more than six weeks from White House, and the next Iowa caucuses are more than three years away — so naturally, it’s time to start talking 2012, as a new national poll suggests that Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee top the list of potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey out Friday that serves as an early measure of potential support for the next GOP presidential nomination, Huckabee tops the list. Thirty-four percent of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP say they are very likely to support the former Arkansas governor if he were to become their party’s nominee in 2012. Huckabee surprised many by winning this year's Republican caucuses in Iowa and seven other contests before ending his run in March.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate in this year's election, draws nearly as much support: 32 percent of those polled said they would get behind a Palin nomination. And with the survey's sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 points, Palin and Huckabee are statistically tied.

The survey is an early measure of possible support, not a horse race snapshot.

“It might come as a surprise to some that Palin does better than Huckabee among GOP men but that Huckabee beats Palin among Republican women,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Palin's strength is also concentrated among older Republicans, but Huckabee may have a slight edge among conservative Republicans."

Among voters who consider themselves born again or evangelical, Huckabee draws more support than Palin, with a 9 point edge. Meanwhile, Palin holds a 7-point advantage among non-born again or evangelical voters.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in third place in the poll, with 28 percent of those questioned saying they are very likely to suport him as the GOP nominee in 2012.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich draws roughly the same level of support as Romney, at 27 percent. In 2007, Gingrich flirted with making a run for the Republican presidential nomination, but decided against jumping into the race.

Twenty-three percent of those polled say they would be very likely to support Rudy Giuliani if he decides to run again. The former New York City mayor was the national frontrunner in many polls in late 2007, before performing poorly in the early primaries and caucuses. He dropped out of the race for the White House in late January.

Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who's considered a rising star in the GOP, draws support from 19 percent of those surveyed, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist 7 percent.

“Jindal and Crist are relative unknowns. The fact that they get much less support than the others is likely a function of name recognition rather than a true measure of their potential base of support," says Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, with 460 Republicans and independent voters who lean Republican questioned by telephone.


Filed under: 2012
soundoff (868 Responses)
  1. ED FL

    That shoud go in the alaska and north and the arkansa and south. We would have a red neck dream team. OOPS we just got rid of a red neck administration. I can see them both in overalls, at least they can get clothed in walmart instead of Nieman Marcus.Might have trouble getting that re head in a straw hat.

    December 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. judy

    NO INTELLIGENT VOTER COULD POSSIBLY SEE SARA PALIN AS A REAL CHOICE. i'LL BET IF THE NEWS MEDIA STOPPED TALKING ABOUT HER, SHE WOULD QUICKLY BE FORGOTTEN . DO WE REALLY WANT ANOTHER MINUTE OF THE LAST EIGHT YEARS? OR WORSE??

    December 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. LMJ

    As an Arkansan, I promise you, you don't want Mike Huckabee as your local dog catcher, let alone President of the U. S.

    December 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Nick

    As a Democrat I pray to God that Palin is on top of the ticket next time. She would be the easiest possible candidate for Obama to beat. I doubt he'll have a problem getting re-elected regardless but if Palin wins the GOP nomination we may as well just skip the election and spend all the campaign donations on paying down our deficit.

    December 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. j

    If Sarah Palin is still taken seriously by the right it only shows how whack the center of the party is.

    December 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. KYBluesky

    pathetic.

    December 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Mike, Albany

    Lord help us if Palin should ever reach the White House. I guess if Americans are dumb enough to elect her, then we deserve what we get. But imagine if 9/11 were to happen on a Palin watch.

    December 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Dayahka

    These polls are done by and responded to by people who apparently have nothing better to do to amuse themselves. Don't forget that just two years ago, and for the last four years, Giuliani was the front runner–and where is he now? And don't forget, also, that in a few months things will be so vastly different than they are now that polls like this will be irrelevant. Also, don't forget that a complex society requires competent, trained people to deal with its problems–you don't hire a plumber to do brain surgery, nor some smooth talking con to manage your transportation logistics, or some believer in a flat earth to develop your missile guidance systems.

    December 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. lou

    Dumb and Dummer

    This is what the GOP has to offer... je,je,je.... and the legacy of W for years to come...i'll be funny if we were better off but what a hole this people digged out for us.

    December 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Sue

    John, are you serious? You sound like a petulant child. Have you really convinced yourself that the majority of Americans fear Palin? That is such a second-grade argument device, it's pathetic. What I fear is that there are people like you who fail to see how woefully inadequate she is as a public figure. I can't figure out if it's willfull obstinateness, failure to admit that your ideology is flawed, or plain stupidity. Either way, keep on supportin' Palin, you betcha!!!! I will even re-register as a Republican so I can support her in the primaries. Don't be such a sore loser. Enjoy the new civilized world! We prefer not to shoot wolves from helicopters here.

    December 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. PK California

    I'm so happy to hear that the Republicans are still hanging on to Palin! Some people never learn! But that's fine with me! We will have 8 years with Obama!!!!!!!
    I'm not surprised that more men want Palin. Shows that a pair of legs have more attraction to them than brains! Women are very hard on women and can see right through a fake! Thank God there are still women to vote for brains!

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Mike from Georgia

    It would be so nice if you mean-spirited Democrats would emulate Obama's example of even-handed and respectful rhetoric. I can't believe what hate-mongers so many of you are.

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. John Lubeck

    So, which ones are more ignorant – GOP Men or GOP Women?

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Fantastic!

    Thats great news! Will make it that much easier for Obama in 4yrs.

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. petena

    I am using this opportunity to express my disgust over the issue of Barack's place of birth. He was born in Hawaii so that makes him a US citizen – period. However John McCain was born in Panama on US military base. Hello????????????????

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Richard - Atlanta

    You'd think the Republicans would have learned that you can't win with a fringe candidate who represents extremist views. Palin is an extremist & she was one of the reasons why McCain lost.

    Regardless of how she tries to "reinvent" herself, she will never convince SANE Americans that she is anything but a narrow-minded, uneducated, unqualified, religious right fanatic.

    Consider some of the traditional RED states where McCain barely won. He won Georgia (a very conservative state) by only 200,000 votes ... if that isn't a sign that the GOP needs to move to the center I don't know what is.

    December 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Kat

    Oh man, that's rich. The GOP have clearly learned nothing from this last election: pandering to the Christian right only alienates people who aren't evangelical or born-again. If they want to win in 2012 they should start looking at someone with intellectual capability and actual credentials, not someone who can wave the bible around and look good in a pantsuit.

    Otherwise 2012 will be an easy re-election for Obama!

    December 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Rich

    sarah palin scares me and she should never run for president ever.

    December 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Doug in New Mexico

    Well as she is on a mission from God I guess we will see. Or is it that the media with too much time on its hands is giving her credence when there isn't any except for the fact that she thinks its cool to kill and maim animals from an aircraft. Bunch of sick, sick people!!!!!!

    December 5, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Noodles

    Wouldn't the GOP be better off nominating people who have real experience as seasoned executives. Mitt Romney may be a Mormon, which is a little out of the mainstream, but there is little argument he knows how to build and run a business. Bobby Jindal may be young, but all reports out of Louisiana are that he is well respected across party lines. Obama appealled to independents. Jindal and Romney have that capacity to appeal to independents. I don't think Palin or Huckabee have that same capacity.

    December 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. Poe the Jlumber

    Palin and Huckabee are exactly what's wrong with the GOP today.

    Ron Paul is exactly the direction where the GOP should be headed.

    December 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Alex

    Glad to see the GOP is entrenching themselves in the myth that they need to become more overtly right-wing to win the presidency.

    December 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Steve, NY

    Those two have the lowest rating amongst independents. As long as Obama doesn't screw up royaly, the GOP will not see a viable candidate till 2016. Also, congressional Democrats still have some hope. As long as they do not screw up, there is still the 2010 election where they can still pick up a filibuster proof majority. Remember, those who were elected in 2004 will be held accountable for the economic crises they helped steer us into.

    December 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Nathan

    Please stop talking about the 2012 Presidential race. It's time to find something else for us all to talk about.

    December 5, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. A_Liberal_Dude

    Please, please, please, please nominate Palin. This will ensure Obama get 2 terms.

    December 5, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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