July 16th, 2009
05:08 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll shows tight race for 2012 GOP nomination

 Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee appear to be locked in a three-way race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee appear to be locked in a three-way race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

(CNN) – The Republican presidential primary process doesn't kick off for more than two years, but perhaps it's never too early to take a measure of where a race that's far from starting stands.

It appears to be a three-way race between former White House hopeful Mitt Romney, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee - also an ex-presidential aspirant. Romney stands at 26 percent in the new survey, compared to 21 percent for Palin, and 19 percent for Huckabee.

But the poll, which surveyed 455 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters between July 10-12, carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, meaning all three are essentially locked in a dead heat.

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and current conservative commentator stands at 14 percent while Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour - the governors of Minnesota and Mississippi respectively - are each in low single digits.

The Gallup survey shows similar results to those of a recent CNN poll that also indicated the same three Republicans are locked in hypothetical race for the party's nomination.

But while Romney, Palin, and Huckabee are clustered on top, the survey shows voters hold a much higher favorability rating of the soon-to-be ex-Alaska governor than the other two Republicans. Palin scores a 72 percent approval rating compared with Huckabee's 59 percent and Romeny's 56 percent.

Though Palin, who has firmly remained in the headlines since she was tapped to be the party's vice presidential candidate last August, appears considerably better known than both men: only 7 percent of Republicans have no opinion of her compared to 28 percent who said the same of Romney and 25 percent who lacked a view of Huckabee.

Of course, polls more than two years before an election are far from predictive: A Gallup survey in 2005 showed Hillary Clinton would win the 2008 Democratic nomination over John Kerry while Rudy Giuliani would edge out McCain on the Republican side. President Obama was not included in the poll.


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Sarah Palin
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Tony B.

    Romney, Palin and Huckabee – that's a good way to broaden the GOP's appeal to independents in a general election....are they trying regain the White House or are they having a contest to see what right wing nutjob best represents their party?

    July 16, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. tjpdx

    The article starts off saying, "The Republican presidential primary process doesn't kick off for more than two years.." but yet people feel the need to take polls and CNN feels the need to post the results. Can you please rather report on something that matters!!

    July 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Anny

    Which polls are we suppose to believe? The other day the polls showed Palin was losing the Republican voters, I think this is a big conspiracy to trap Palin into running so the big guys can take her down in the primary debates.......they will throw everything at her including the kitchen trash and she will whin and cry how badly she is being treated by the media and the republicans.........go for it Palin if you can't see the writing on the wall by now you never will and you deserver every thing they throw at you.....

    July 16, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Wynter

    As usual the Republican Party demonstrates how completely and utterly out of sync they are with the American Mainstream. Palin is totally incapable of leading this country, let alone her own state of Alaska. She is egotistical, selfcentered, and devoid of any feeling for what the average citizen thinks.

    She fits right in with the rest of the leaders of the GOP. Corrupt and selfish.

    July 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. James

    Shut up! Talk about making up news where there is none. CNN, just how low do your standards go?

    July 16, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. JS

    With the recession, Iran, N. Korea, Iraq, Afghanastan, a supreme court nomination, investigations into the previous administration, and countless other stories going on, I'm glad CNN had the time to spend on a poll about an election where the candidates have neither filed or declared. Next thing you know, we'll be hearing stories about kittens getting stuck in trees.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Spoken

    You have got to be kidding.

    As a republican I can't stand her. Not intelligent enough.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Gary D.

    All losers.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Fort Lauderdale

    Will a real Republican candidate please stand up? I thought there was going to be a "new" Republican party. This is the old Party and all three of these people showed themselves to be political losers in 2008.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Matt

    With those three in the lead the dems are sure to win.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. zippy29

    This palin has opened the flood gates for people like Audra Shay, Catherine Crabill, Joe the Plumber....all from under the same rock, it's just hard to hear the beliefs of these people.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Dennis

    I can't believe this. It is simply stunning to me that Republicans would support such an inexperienced, clearly lacking individual. Something has gone terribly wrong with America's political system.

    July 16, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Frank

    An empty suit, trailer park trash, and Huckleberry Hound.

    What has become of the party of Lincoln?

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. pacwatcher

    What an important poll. I'm sure a poll taken in 2006 would have shown Barack Obama as a leading contender on the Democratic side. Give me a break ! All polls like this do is give pundits something to fill the airwaves with .... completely meaningless. Believe it or not, a lot might happen between now and when the race really kicks off in a couple of years. Mitt Romney might go broke in a bad market. Sarah Palin might quit three more jobs. Mike Huckabee might convert to Islam. Who knows ?

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Chris

    Actually, yes, it can be too early. And this is too early. WAY too early. Keep pushing back the election season, and the president will have to do nothing but campaign to win the next election. If they win another term, they'll be useless figureheads that sit in the shadows while their potential successors duke it out shortly after January 21st.

    Asking a pregnant woman where her child will go to college is "too early." So is this. Let the Prez do his job.

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. jenn

    Are people insane? Palin is by far the least qualified of all those candidates, and if small-town-folksy is what people are going for, why in the world does Huckabee have a lower approval rating than Palin? Is a Baptist minister not right-wing enough for them?

    Horrifying. Thank God only a small minority of Americans are still Republicans.

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Bonnie

    Clustered at the top are they! We know what kind of cluster that is.

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. Tim

    I dont know she was running for anything. My goodness people we just had an election ... this one is THREE AND ONE HALF years away. Let's not start running yet ....

    July 16, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. God

    Pfft. So the GOP thinks it's going to win in 2012 by putting up retread losers as candidates, including one woman who is singularly unqualified to show up at the White House for anything more significant than pest control? LOL! I think I'll change the channel and tune into Friday night Klingon Ping-Pong Death Matches instead.

    July 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Andrew a Texan

    not going to vote for either of them. this is why people all around are jumping the GOP ship. GIVE US A REAL CANADITE!! its so depressing to be a repbulican, and look around and see these guys acting like they really can contend for the presidential bid. I might vote for

    July 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. Frank Lee

    Great – A three way race to the bottom.

    For God's sake, the election is 3 1/2 freakin' years away.

    Give it a rest, CNN. Go cover Michael Jackson's death or something important.

    July 16, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. ANGIE IN PA

    NONE OF THESE LOSERS PLEASE For the sake of our country lets hope none of these morons become President EVER Not in 2012 NEVER!

    July 16, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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