WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll of Republicans suggests that there's no front runner at this extremely early moment in the next race for the White House.
Three possible candidates are all bunched at the top of a CNN/Opinion Research
Corporation survey released Tuesday.
The survey suggests that 22 percent of Republicans would most likely support former Arkansas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's presidential nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent say they would most likely back Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, with an equal number supporting former Massachusetts governor and former White House hopeful Mitt Romney.
Taking into account the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error, Huckabee, Palin and Romney seem to be locked in a hypothetical dead heat.
The poll indicates that 13 percent of Republicans would back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2012, with 6 percent supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Ten percent of those questioned say they would most likely back someone else.
"The Republicans have three very well known candidates. No one is a clear favorite among the three. The race appears to be wide open at this very early date," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.
"Republicans typically nominate someone familiar who's run for president before, such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain. But since the party appears to be in trouble right, Republicans might want to do what Democrats typically do, and look for a fresh face," adds Schneider.
The poll's release comes on the same day that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced that he won't run next year for a third term. Pawlenty's decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid in 2010 is seen by some political analysts as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012.
The poll's release also comes as Romney's recent schedule gives the impresison of a man intent on running for the White House again. On Monday, Romney criticized the Obama administration over national security at a speech sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Friday he was the keynote speaker at a major Republican Party dinner in Virginia. He's campaigned recently for GOP gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, and he's a frequent guest on cable news programs and Sunday talk shows.
Asked Sunday about a bid in 2012, Romney told Fox News that "I'm not going to close that door" - although, he added, "I'm not going to walk through it either."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for Republican presidential nomination question is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
I know it's too early and all, but hopefully they go with Huckabee or Palin, because their campaigns will be 10x as silly as McCain's.
Has it really come to this? Eternal campaigning by both parties? I guess that means Wal-Mart's is going to be putting up the Christmas decorations next week. I think I'm gonna puke. Have a nice day!
Notice that every single person named on that list is an extremist. Not one of them are moderates. Rather frightening.
That's ok anyone could beat this mickey mouse of a president. But wait if we wait long enough Obama will break the country on the economy, and no one will run against the GOP
You do realize that its only 4 months into this administration, right? Why are they even campaigning right now? The Democrats didn't behave like this when Bush was elected, so why are the Republicans? Its childish. The Republicans need to learn to try to better the country, not continue to constantly fight among everyone, including themselves, like snapping dogs.
Mitt can pull it off. Huckabee as his running mate.
I hopethe Repukes file chapter 11 like the junk dealers in Detroit.
None of these people will be the candidate. There will be a fresher face. It will be a Conservative one, but not a fuddy-duddy.
By the time Obama finishes buying up the rest of America's failed corporations, and printing money till we're out of paper, Conservatism will be "in again". It's a shame, but that's my prediction. Oops, I forgot. Obama's attempts at accommodating and appeasing every tyrant from Chavez to Ahmadinejad will also undoubtedly lead to a resurgence of support from the GOP. The Democrats themselves will bring about the resurrection of the Republican Party which surely would have been helpless to do it by itself.
Oh please please please let it be Palin... I miss the great SNL shorts....
Romeny/Palin 2012!!!! Perfect for this country.
Forget it look at 2016 and even then we will vote for Hillary Clinton.
Gov. Pawlenty should have never let the Franken/Coleman fiasco drag out this long when he could have declared Franken the Minnesota senator. That wil cost him dearly. No wonder he doesn't want to run for office next year because he knows he's going to lose.
At the rate Obama is going (spending us into oblivion, coddling muslims and alienating Israel, non-action with North Korea & Iran, etc), Rush Limbaugh could win 2012!!
I think it should be LIMBAUGH!
Oh wow, please let this be right. Nothing sounds better for the Democrats than Huckabee/Palin 2012.
That will gaurantee Republican defeat and give President Obama some more time to clean up the mess that repugs made over the last eight years.
Plus more funny skits on SNL!
By the time we get to 2012, the voters will go with anyone but Obama. My bet is that Obama won't win the democratic primary in 2012 (another first for Barack).
Wow, wouldn't CNN just love to prematurely anoint the next GOP candidate so they can get a head start on publishing all of the things they don't like about him or her while it's already falsely convinced the sheep that the GOP is somehow only interested in power and the rich.
Doesn't matter. The GOP definitely loses in 2012 and definitely wins in 2016. Can't blame us for all of the problems for three straight elections... enough of America will learn this by 2016.
Barack Obama can win easily over Palin, Huckabee or Romney and without even spending a nickle. PLA'SEEEE.
Hopeful or not, 2 of the 3 stand no chance at getting anyone but far right conservatives to vote for them. While Romney is the best choice of the three, he will have a hard time getting the far right conservative vote because his religion is not aligned with theirs.
All three of these people are really quite silly. I really hope the Republican party splits because we do need some competitive nature to our politics. We really need something like 3-5 parties that can stand out and have the support of the media, very much unlike the last election.
Can you name any of the other candidates from the last election or the party they represented? Its a shame we have to rely on our crippled media. We can do so much better than this.
PLEASE PLEASE Nominate Palin...we all need a good laugh...Obama would be a shoe in for sure if Palin is their choice.
Wow, the fact that Palin is even a consideration shows how crazy & out of touch these people are.
They might as well add Jeb Bush to this bunch of losers, he couldn't be any worse.
We couldn't come up with someone better than Newt Gingrich, Huckabee, Palin and Romney ???
This got be a joke!
OMG Mark at 3:26...I do believe I've just thrown up in my mouth a bit at your comment.
Honestly, what we are witnessing is the transformation of the GOP. The traditional Republicans will eventually be forced to either purge their party of the neo-cons or leave and form their own party. They'll most probably choose to do nothing this cycle and just watch as Huckabee and/or Palin make a run on the White House and fail miserably. At the latest then, in 2013 or so, the Rush-led far-right will either inherit the GOP or be forced to form the modern-day equivalent of the Know-Nothing Party. That will be a good thing; they deserve total control of the fringes.