December 5th, 2008
04:12 PM ET
9 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. Chris


    "America needs intelligent, thoughtful people in the W.H"

    So we need Obama? Mike Huckabee was one of the more intelligent people in the race, and he far out does Barack.

    December 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. SJC

    Shouldn't the headline be:

    "Huckabee and Palin top early 1012 list"

    Palin and Huckabee are fitter to lead us into the 11th century rather than the 21st. Both deny proven science and have reactionary simple minded views that are more suitable to religious fanaticism than the technological advancement and forward thinking required in the century ahead.

    December 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Vijay

    Why am I not surprised that one of the biggest GOP moneymakers last year was left off the list? CNN, why don't you do what you and other media usually do? That is, just delete 2 out of every 3 votes that go to Ron Paul. That way the poll will at least look unbiased on its face.

    December 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Gaylon Barrow


    December 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. Jim

    Of course Palin can win. If Obama can win, anyone can win. He's lowered the standard to nearly nothing.

    December 5, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Sherrol in Canada

    Send in the clowns!!!!

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Iowa Mom

    Jeff from Atlanta

    I thought you guys believe Jesus was already elected this November?!?!

    No Jeff, we elected Obama. The whole messiah thing was created by right wing nutters. You lost so you feel the need to put those who opposed you down to make yourself feel better.

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. James

    Republican, Conservative elite, Kristol, etc.

    Congratulations. Your party has officially been kidnapped. You are now seeing the substitution of the bible for the Constitution and the shifting of your party so far to the right you may never get it back. The people who support Huck and Palin have a true disdain for intelligence and accomplishment like Romney (although he has his problems too), etc.

    This verifies that the party is split. The blissfully ignorant bible thumpers who are one or two issue voters and the intelligencia of the Conservative. The two are not the same.

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. Wayne from Fullerton, CA

    I'd love Sarah Palin to run in 2012. What better way to ensure Obama will be re-elected.

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. kathy

    If Palin were to be thrown in the mix for prez, then by all means get joe the plumber as her running mate because the US of A would be in the it was with Bush!

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Barbara

    Those who think Palin is good enough to be President is just as empty headed as Palin. Gee, she don't read remember. What is wrong with you people? She needs at least 12 years education to catch up with the rest of the world!

    December 5, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Ed

    The world has changed so much – it is time for republicans to wake up and see the problems within their party. Simply nominate someone who has only limited base appeal will not get them to white house

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |


    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Jimmy -Gilbert, AZ

    Jackjack.. We tried a moderate.. He lost.

    Palin/Rice 2012!

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Cathy Brandes

    I firmly believe, if the GOP has a chance at all in 2012, they need to seriously look at the moderate members of their party. Gov. Pawlenty of MN, Gov. Jindahl of LA and Gov. Crist of FL because if they continue to look to the ultra conservative wing of their party, they will not win. I am hopeful that President Obama will be a strong president and perhaps by 2016 the GOP will figure it out! If not, I look forward to many years of strong democratic leadership.
    Gov Palin is not the answer, she is part of the problem. With what is facing the country at the present time, let's concentrate on the problems at hand!

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. dave

    Someone paid good money for a poll to find out who's ahead in an election four years from now? Why limit yourselves to four years? Find out who's ahead for 2040!

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. FRANK



    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. NW

    Get ready to be a third party in 6 years.

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. Karen

    The only thing more horrifying than the last 8 years is the thought that this country could EVER elect someone as phony and unintelligent and self-serving as Sarah Palin. God help us all should that day ever come...surely, surely people will get to know her well enough over the next four years that it would only be considered a bad joke to nominate her for anything other than head cheerleader.

    December 5, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. Godluvr

    CNN: Please get a grip on it!

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Dan

    John: 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!

    And I love your predictable "you all are so scared" comment. Simpleton.

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. Wendy NC

    CNN – read my lips – NO MORE PALIN STORIES, until she is recalled or impeached – please.

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Evans

    I love how people view Huckabee and Palin as unintelligent. The last I look both have already successfully been Executives. Palin has $5 Billion set aside for the tough economic times and gave money back to her citizens. The state that Obama legislated is already running a big deficit and with the bailout plan took $700 Billion from his citizens and gave it to a known idoit Paulson. With that said who is intelligent and who is not? Oh and the intelligent Obama is already planning to take (not give) another $1 Trillion from his citizens. Doesn't sound smart to me. As far as Paulson abusing the Bailout money. Obama voted to give the guy a blank check so I blame Obama.

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. RGA

    They never learn, do they?

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Republican for Obama

    hahah...WOW. Is that all the party has??!! sad..

    December 5, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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