June 2nd, 2009
03:16 PM ET
11 months ago

CNN Poll: No frontrunner in GOP 2012 presidential race

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.


Filed under: GOP
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. SLM

    Time to come up with a viable candidate. The circus we have now needs to leave in 2012, the far left is rapidly destroying this country. The latest news road projects will be out of funding by August and they need another 5-7 billion, their solution more federal gas taxes. Yup folks, the change you voted for is coming in the form of higher taxes. Did you really believe 95% of Americans were going to get a tax break?

    June 2, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Kwesoe

    Republicans don't have to run in the next election. They should just sit and watch a good show. To run would be like thinking about unthinkable things the democratic way. Why recycle the same ole folks just for the fun of defeat?

    June 2, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Pete

    I can see it now. Gingrich and Palin in 2012. Or maybe Limbaugh and Palin. Or better yet, Palin and Gingrich. Not much to choose from in that group. Bobby Jindal? Mitt Romney? John Boehner? How about Dick Cheney and Michele Backman?! As long as the Republicans keep whining and sounding like paranoid war hawks, their chances of winning anything other than local elections are slim. They must find someone that can speak intelligently on issues, can put forth a message of unity and pragmatism. The American people tired of the racist, supremacist rhetoric of the last 8 years, and that is why the GOP was crushed last November. The American people have advanced beyond the rantings of Cheney, beyond the simple-minded gibberish of W, and beyond the politics of hate. We want solutions, not threats. We want intelligence and foresight, not the politics of Joe McCarthy. The Republicans have been tied to the coat tails of the extreme right for so long that they have no one else to lead. And the icing on the cake is that the extreme right doesn't realize that their views have been rejected, that they have been exposed as frauds, and that the American people don't have time for their nonsense.

    June 2, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    "The Democrats didn't behave like this when Bush was elected, so why are the Republicans?"

    Are you freaking serious? The Democrats threw a hissy fit over "Bush stealing the election" – Clinton refused to brief Bush on anything and refused to release the transition money.

    Then 9/11 happened and the Dems were calling Bush a coward and they were demanding he do something by that Saturday.

    The Democrats were hardly acting like grownups after 2000.

    June 2, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Jay Davenport

    The two-party system is only going to work if both parties are viable. For Republicans to promote three candidates that have already lost is insane. Palin drug McCain down and has absolutely no chance to win the general election. Romney and Huckabee lost on their own already. If you remember, McCain had the nomination wrapped up by Super Tuesday, so how Republicans are touting the two candidates that were the victims of that slaughter is beyond me. That party needs a new idea, and it ain't Bobby Jindal. Hopefully, it's way too early to identify the next set of candidates, because if these three battle it out in 2012, it's going to be quite the embarrassment.

    June 2, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Steph

    Instead of worrying about who is going to run in 2012, they should all focus on getting things back on track first. Anyone who is busy campaigning now and not helping repair this damaged nation shouldn't be allowed to run for any office.

    June 2, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Ennis, LA

    Huckabee? They're kidding. Obama will eat this country bumpkin alive.
    His anti-mormon views are sure to polarize the GOP if he and Mitt
    Romney vie for their party's nomination. Huckabee is no uniter and should remain a Fox talk show host!

    June 2, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    "They might as well add Jeb Bush to this bunch of losers, he couldn't be any worse."

    Not one of them is worse than the loser right now in the White House.

    June 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Had It

    Please let it be Palin – I sure miss the trailer trash jokes - or maybe Huck - he's a joke all by himself.

    Oh - wait – it has to be Mittens - President Mittens and all his female kittens move into the multi-wives house.

    June 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Enough

    Anyone Republican has to be better than this train wreck the Democrats are creating with our country. This change is bankrupting the country. Is that really what you voted for?

    June 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Peace

    Just only 21%!!!!! Are not these people who are listening to Rush Limbaugh!! The road to the White House is millions miles away to the Republicans.

    June 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  12. tn mom

    Isn't this a little premature? Besides, didn't Palin learn her lesson already? How anyone with an IQ above 70 could even consider voting for her is beyond me.
    I personally think Obama is doing a fantastic job. He is actually addressing issues instead of hiding from them (ie Bush during Katrina anyone?)...and more than one at a time!

    Obama/ Biden '12

    June 2, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. J

    Shocking!!! Considering we JUST finished with that last Presidential Election...

    For the love of everything holy.. STOP with your garbage and just report actual News!!!

    DOOOOOOOOOOCHES!!!!!!!!!!

    June 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Well duh...all the GOP bigshots are out there blabbering equally ridiculous and spiteful nonsense, so how could there be a frontrunner? It's a race to see who can start acting rational first.

    June 2, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Paul from Phoenix

    So? Hillary and Giuliani were the heavy front runners until December '07. Polls today mean nothing about the 2012 race.

    June 2, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. republicans hate america

    let Rush Limbaugh be their candidate he seems to have all the answers to fix everything.

    June 2, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. fella from Chicago

    To Fort Lauderdale:

    Couldn't agree with you more. Politics like the economy runs in cycles and the Dems will do more than anything or anyone else to allow the Republicans back in power.

    June 2, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Kelby In Houston, TX

    Do you know how you can tell this is a slow news day? See the headline above. We aren't even talking current events. We're talking about peoples dreams of the future. there isn't ANYTHING going on today...NICE :)

    June 2, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    They all need to stop campaigning like the election is next year and focus on getting the country back on track. Although I don't support him, but I commend Gov. Jindal from staying out of the spotlight and focusing on the people of Louisiana. Unlike Palin, Pawlenty and Huckabee. None of them stand a chance.

    Here's a word of advice to the Republican Party.
    COLIN POWELL IS YOUR LEADER!!!

    June 2, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Tatianna

    When will CNN conduct a poll on 2012 presidential democrat candidates.

    June 2, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. alvino

    Mich-

    Do you read what you write?

    June 2, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    "President Mittens and all his female kittens move into the multi-wives house."

    Mitt at least can speak without a teleprompter. When I'm not around, Obama speaks like this...

    "Um, uh, uh, um, uh, uh, um, uh.um, uh, um, uh, uh, uh....."

    President Stutterer.

    June 2, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Aurelie

    Frontrunner ? You mean back runner ...

    June 2, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Mich June 2nd, 2009 3:21 pm ET

    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
    ------------------------

    Keep dreaming idiot. That Disney "Goofy" of a president that just left has ruined it for you joke of a party for YEARS to come.

    June 2, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. republicans hate america

    I just can not wait to vote for Obama again thats right my votes is already planned for him.

    June 2, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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