December 5th, 2008
04:12 PM ET
10 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. James, Ho. TX

    Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin in 2012 ? Thats like sucking on a hind titt !

    December 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Terri in IL

    HELLO!! Is there any one home at the RNC? Are they all sitting on their brains? Maybe, just maybe they just want to scare us, maybe they are kidding, right? After the kick in the butt McCain got due to his selecting Palin, even from his own party, they would still consider a brainless tart like Palin. I guess we will have Obama for the next eight years-thanks to the empty heads ruling the RNC. Teach her to talk first, the poor idiot can't even think in a full sentence–forget a paragraph.

    December 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Paul

    what makes people think she could beat Obama in 2012, when she couldn't even do it in 2008?

    December 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Gary

    I still see that CNN is it's usual "accurate" self! (sarcasm off)

    Evey other poll out there has Governor Palin leading the other front runners, Mitt Romney, Rudy and others by double digits! Huckabee is at the bottom!

    In every other poll of Republicans and Republican leaning independents 60 to 70 percent chose Palin!!

    This is just more of the dishonest media trying to to create a story!

    Face facts, Palin will be the nominee in 2012. Did anyone pay any attention to Georgia?

    Palin was a rock star down there. All of the hitters were down there campaigning for Chambliss. Governor Palin flew in and in ONE DAY drew more people than all the rest combined. And by "all the rest", I'm including Bill Clinton and Rapper Ludacris!

    The day before Sarah showed up, Saxby Chambliss had a 5 point lead in the polls, and was gonna win anyway, but Sarah took that 5 point win, and turned it into a 16 point BLOWOUT!

    By 2012 Governor Palin will have 20 years of chief executive experience under her belt!

    You guys just voted in a guy who has never run a city, never run a state, and never run a lemonade stand! Good luck with that!

    On the other hand, while the democrats and their social engineering, ACORN thuggery, and stupid mortgage loans have all but collapsed the nation's economy, Governor Palin is working on Alaska's budget that should have a 5 billion dollar surplus!

    And Alaska has no state income tax, or state sales tax!

    Can't wait for 2012 so we can get a leader in the White House for a change!

    Sarah is the one WE have been waiting for!

    December 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. Barbara

    Good Grief, who are the people being polled?

    December 5, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Jeanne Bean

    Obama would be very hard to beat in 2012–he's already on a roll. So I'm not sure it matters who the Republicans pick.

    In 2016, if Sarah Palin is still around and seeming to think that God is opening a door for her to the presidency (cough, gag, spit!), then I hope Caroline Kennedy takes her on.

    December 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. Rick - Missouri

    Huckabee could out debate Palin in his sleep. She obviously can NOT speak beyond well scripted sound bytes, even in a debate (where she often refused to answer direct questions, yet insisted on speaking "directly to the American people". PLEASE! That was only because she did not have an answer to the question, and her tactic was a clear dodge to get in a practiced sound byte). Huckabee is truly brilliant, and very smooth. He could debate nearly any topic, on the spur of the moment, and outdo even the most rehearsed and polished politician (including Barack Obama or John McCain). I hope Huckabee runs again in 2012, and that Palin stays home (where she belongs). I don't know how any logical person could watch/listen to her unscripted interviews, and walk away with any impression, other than that the woman is a simpleton. NOTE: I reluctantly supported Palin when McCain picked her, and after she gave interviews, figured out what a horrendous mistake McCain had made. I'm 100% sure Palin cost McCain LOTS of votes, as the prospect of Palin becoming President was truly frightening.

    December 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. John from Boston

    As a Democrat who feels as if he is coming in from the wilderness after 8 years of one of the more abysmal administrations in American history, I cannot tell you how it warms my heart to see that the top three prospective candidates for the GOP nomination in 2112 are (1) Mike Huckabee, (2) Sarah Palin, and (3) Newt Gingrich. No. (1) is a religionist. No. (2) is a national punch line and an ignorant, gold-plated phony. And no. (3) is perhaps the single most annoying, polarizing figure in American politics.

    December 5, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Libertarian in AK

    Palin is the most pragmatic and effective Governor I have seen in my 34 years in Alaska. The only social legislation on her watch was same sex benefits, which she signed. Like Regan, in actuality social conservatives will get nothing.

    Obama has the same Bailout/deficit spending solutions Bush has. Obama is beginning to sound like Bush when it comes to Iran, Pakistan etc. Contrary to 'landslide' talk, the Rs only had to flip 4 of 100 votes to win. I hope Obama works out OK but I don't see it...

    I admit her extemporaneous speaking is flawed, so was Eisenhower's.

    December 5, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Please GOP, place these two people high on your list. It doesn't matter – Bush has guaranteed the WH for the Dems for a long time, because everybody can now see what happens when you put a pure neophyte and buffoon at the controls with a Cabal surrounding him!!!

    So, do please nominate Palin and Huckabee!!! Start today, why wait?! Huckabee had Chuck Norris in his corner, who will Palin have – Sgt. Preston of the Yukon?!

    December 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Jon, Palo Alto, CA

    It's inspiring to see just where the GOP is going. Lemmings off a cliff.

    December 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. Jon

    Kathy, the folks that have to suck it up and let their country be run by Obama aren't leaving the country. But, if you want to run from Palin in 4 years I'll buy your ticket!

    December 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. USMC - Mike

    I hope so ...

    The GoP is still dripping with delusion ... I haven't laughed this hard in awhile ...

    December 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Dan

    Better start doing the 2016 poll, then.

    December 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. John

    We're finally getting rid of one bone-headed president who shredded the constitution. Now, people are talking about Huckbee for president? The man wants to ammend the constitution to make the US a Christian nation under God ... his God, that is. Let cooler heads prevail!

    December 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Uncle Fester

    John December 5th, 2008 3:30 pm ET

    These comments are so predictable….."I just wish she would go away?"…….."Aren't her 15 minutes up?"……."Why are we still talking about her?"……..I love hearing the sound of fear in your voices. Heheheheheeeeee

    Dream on John-boy. What you are hearing is incredulity that anyone can be stupid enough to think this woman has the intelligence to run this country.

    December 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Tiaunia, Texas

    The news finds some way to put her in an article.

    Can we focus on the current government and the American people right now?

    No Food
    No Gas in spite of the prices goind down
    No Job
    No Home
    No Car

    Good grief...let her rest so that we may rest!!!

    December 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. pjchild

    CNN/Opinion Research Corporation needs to find something else to do. Palin, are you kiddin'?

    December 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Honker Bob

    Is this the best the Republican party can offer? My God, what a joke! They are writing their own obituary if they nominate her and continue to align themselves with the lunatic religious right. The Republican party of small government, lower taxes, not meddling in our lives, etc. doesn't exist anymore!

    December 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. tsj

    Are you conservatives kidding me? If anyone in this country believes that Sarah Palin will be ready to become President, you seriously need to have you head examined!

    I am still scratching my head as to how could she be a governor and you are thinking she can become commander in chief!

    December 5, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. ALD

    I would take Mike Huckabee over Sarah Palin anyday. She is way out of touch.

    December 5, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Annie

    While this is quite early, please, GOP. Please do not continue to alienate conservatives who are conservatives for political reasons, not religious reasons, any further. What's that about separation of church and state?

    December 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. Wayne from Fullerton, CA

    Palin is a prime example of the five stages of death.
    (In this case the death of the Republican party)

    1. Denial
    2. Anger
    3. Bargaining
    4. Depression
    5. Acceptance

    Problem is..., Republicans refuse to progress past stage one.

    December 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Obama63

    So American GOP man prefer Palin (possibly with a beer can in one hand and a gun in the other or maybe librarian style!)
    THAT GIVES US A PERFECT IDEA OF THEIR STANDARDS WHEN THEY VOTE!!!. They should get a grip! I cannot believe people let them decide the leadership of this country before!
    Suggestion for the GOP man electors for 2012? What about some Miss Redneck contestant (non necessarly the winner,- just to meet your standars better) with a middle school degree and nice looking in a bikini?

    December 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. WakeUpPeople

    i am so sick of her! How can sensible Americans even think about voting for her!!! I just don't get it. Do we not want smart intelligent people in the whitehouse?! Didn't we have enough of Bush why do we need a Bush duplicate such as Palin. Wake up Republicans!!!

    December 5, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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