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. true daughter of the american revolution

    3 irrelevant republicans.
    obama isn't even in office 6 months and you guys are already spinning the drama.
    stop, already.
    is anyone able to live in the present?

    July 16, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. Candy West Virginia

    Instead of worrying about getting back into power why don't the republicans help try and fix this country they and bush destroyed?

    July 16, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Rob

    Any Republican will be better than Obama.

    July 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. katiec

    OMG.
    Anyone who seriously considers Palin is presidential material has serious problems.
    What in the world is our country coming to??

    July 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Eleanor

    Another line-up of utterly puke-worthy contenders. Bleh!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Sally

    Who cares Plain? She has no quality to run for the president. Her knowledge about domestic and international issues is so poor! And her talk lacks of logic!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. In her first policies response, Sarah palin flip-floped her position on "cap and trade" during the campaign and now.

    I bet Dave, TCM, and Mike are "old" white guys. They hate everything that is not old or uneducated like them.
    But do not venture in DC. We will shoot you like we did yesterday in the US Capitol area.

    July 16, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. sifto77

    I am really fed up with these CNN Palin-bashing -baiting articles–As far as we know SP is not even running in 2012–yet CNN uses her good name knowing that libs will try to beat her to a pulp because she is more popular than Big O. Please try to concentrate on what the democrats are trying to do to our great country and leave Palin alone. There is method in this madness–to keep your mind off the demise of our country under Obama.

    July 16, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Paul

    This is ridiculous. It is a long way off and I doubt anyone will want the job by the time Obama is done crippling the economy.

    July 16, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Shane

    That picture of Mitt, Sarah and Mike needs a title. I shall call it "Trio of Deranged Prudes."

    July 16, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Aaron

    As a liberal I love the GOP lineup. Love it!! Democrats should control the White House for another 2-3 decades. Just wait until the economy turns around and growth is rampant. Now we just need to get rid of more GOPers so we can get to work on climate change, health care and education. Think America! If someone is against either of those 3 then they're a bum and we need to throw them out. And that goes for "blue dog" dems too!

    July 16, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Michael Dunn

    Okay seriously, who the hell cares at this point? We're not even a full 6 months into the current administration's term, and we're already looking at 2012; look at the last paragraph here, this last one should have had Giuliani and Clinton facing off... this is really desperate reporting...

    July 16, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Steph

    This is the best that they have, really? Oh, I actually feel bad for republicans.

    July 16, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Robin

    After Obama is done destroying the USA, Yogi the Bear could win.

    July 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. EARL D HAYES

    sarah palin is the most qualified and most popular one of the republican party. she has more promise to lead this country back to creditability than any even the present president

    July 16, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Bobsy

    Romney 2012!!!! We need a businessman in the White House, someone who actually has business experience, not a chump activist.

    July 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Kansan

    Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee OK...but for all that's holy, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin? Seriously, what are these people smoking to actually even consider this ditz?

    July 16, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. bess

    the only thing surprising in this poll is the number of people polled: 455 (?!) seems mighty small.

    July 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Only a total moron could think that pin head Palin is qualified.

    July 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. rob

    nice to see their still the party of NO . Keep up the good work.. All 3 of them are so scary .She scored a 72 – what were these people drinking

    July 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Fair is Fair

    Sarah Palin will not run for POTUS. She will be the attack dog. Perfect job for her considering all the media attention she gets. Do not underestimate her. She is crazy like a fox.

    July 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. bozo the obama

    forget about it Huckabee, you are just a younger John McCain....get out of our party.

    July 16, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. Dennis

    Why do we always have such bad choices from Presidential nominees? I respect the fact that societies must progress, even though that progression has been repressed by every elected body since the Constitution was written. However, it seems like both parties simply install the candidate that will offer the best dog and pony show. Voters need to really think about the next election and ignore the popularity contest that has become our political process. The media doesn't make it any easier with evaluations like "Would you drink a beer with (candidate)?" My vote in 2012 goes to –Nobody I know yet.

    July 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. TangledThorns

    I'm supporting Sarah Palin all the way. However, any GOP candidate is a far better option than four more years of Obama.

    July 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Independant from NY

    For starters, could I maybe get a GOP candidate that doesn't believe in creationism? Then maybe I'd start taking them seriously.

    July 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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