(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.
I think everyone should lend their support to ensuring that Palin is the Republican nominee. That way we are guranteed of two things. First, the news reports will be filled with idiotic and moronic quotes from Palin that we can all enjoy and get a good laugh from, and second, President Obama is assured a second term in office. Go Sarah go!!
It is easy to have a high approval rating when you don't DO anything. She is really good at speeches, but has proven her biggest flaw to be hiring & electing friends of the family & idiots as her staff or to high positions around her. Do you really want someone who hasn't really finished a term as governor as president?? I voted for her for governor, I will NOT make the same mistake twice.
Has the been an outbreak of the "Idiocy Flu"?
I truly hope that, none of these people ever get elected to the office of United States President, it would be the end of us, they are all war mongers, each and every one of them, we might as well put another Bush back in, if we put one of these people in, they are all a like, as far as I am concerned. And as far as Haley Barbour goes he is a low digit person, if he is every elected to that office, I would have to leave, and go to another country, he has got to be one of the worst, that has every held a public office. Thank you.
Proof that Republicans have been taken over by the hard-right – and will remain a minority party for the foreseeable future.
This article is witness to the fact that the GOP followers have lost their minds. This is only one symptom of an over medicated society.
Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are Incompetent, Wrothless and Not Qualified to be a President of U.S.A.
I don't know what's scarier, the fact that Palin thinks she's smart enough to run for president or that there are people out there stupid enough to vote for Palin.
...if that is all the Replican party has to offer...they will lose again...
What about RON PAUL!!!!!!!
Good choices, all of them - for the democrats that is.
pick sara, pick sarah, this will ensure the Democrats win again, Yahoo! way to go repubs.
Obama is only 6 months into his term and CNN is talking 2012 polls? Alot can happen in 3 1/2 years. If these three are all the Republicans have to offer, Obama would have to really mess things up not win a 2nd term.
A poll 3 years before the convention has little basis in reality. The nominee could very well be someone who isn't even considered a candidate at this point.
This is old news. Since the 72% for Palin came out new polls assert that now that she is resigning only 35% of republicans support her.
Personally I'd love to see support among republicans for Palin go as high as possible. What better way to guaranty the GOP will remain irrelevant as a serious contender for the 2012 White House.
And the eternal campaign continues. Don't these cats ever take a week off? I'm going to start the first outrageous campaign rumor: Did you know that Sarah Palin is a Buddhist? You heard it here first. Have a nice day!
Either one of the three would create a terrible America for anyone who isn't a rightwing, anti-science, anti-choice, anti-minority religious nutcase.
what is your facination with the Quitter? CNN doesn't hav e any new news
Most surprising of all is that the pollsters could find 455 individuals that would actually admit they are republicans and probably only admitted it after being water-boarded 738 times
Having Palin that close in the polls speaks volumes about the mind set of the typical republican. SOOOOOOOOOO pathetically SAD!
Who cares? The midterms are what's important. We need to get as many Democrats out of the house and senate we possibly can! We can't afford to keep them around.
doing a poll like this this early is just stupid. even more stupid is CNN reporting it.
This story is a waste of space..... 2 years away.... Any of these candidates could easily drop the ball in that timespan.
Any of these these potential candidates would be better than Obama who is whittling away at the foundation of this once great nation.
This story is ridiculous. It's 2009.