(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.
Wow. What an all-star lineup. The fundamentalist evangelical Christian minister, the illiterate celebrity ex-governor, and Romney. Hmm.
It takes a group like that to make Romney look like the reasonable one. It should NOT be hard for Obama to stave off the literally hundreds of people clamoring to put any one of these jokers in the White House. This is the face of tomorrow's Republican party! Be proud! (snicker)
None of the above
Huckabee, and Palin – YES! Romney is just another elite career politician that has the ability to change his skin to appease his audience.
Hopefully the media will do their jobs this time, and vet EVERYONE!
Still looking for interviews with friends and family of our current president ( uncle, half sister, college room mates....etc.). Can anyone tell me where to find them? All other candidates had many people from their pasts interviewed. You can tell a lot about a person by whome he/she keeps company with.
wow...things look really bad for the GOP
Great choices: the right-wing religious nut, the zany woman version of "W" or the ultra rich out of touch empty suit. The REpublicans sure know how to pick 'em.
Enough with Palin...
If I quit my job and then expected a promotion, people would call me crazy. They'd be right.
Huckabee and Palin in either order. Romney is too scary. When Palin stepped down she did so with a plan and intended direction. Romney can't commit to a stance to save his life. Huckabee had the best campaign and platform of all republicans last year. CNN can take one of the pictures off this article now.
Wow. Just Wow. That even after being a quitter, thinking Africa is a country, saying the U.S. has a "dept. of law", thinking living in Alaska can protect the U.S. from Russia, getting saved by a rubber chicken man in her pentecostal church, lying about her position on cap and trade, calling herself an "energy expert", taking 6 years and 4 different schools to get a bachelor's degree in journalism, improper use of grammar in both speech and written words, parading her children across stages around the country for months, saying we need more handicapped babies in the world, promoting abstinence while her teenage daughter's boyfriend was living in her home, causing people to scream "off with his head" and "kill him" at campaign rallies, (PHEW!) republicans STILL think this woman should be included on the list of possible presidential nominees AND are sending them their money to do so. Wow. Just Wow!
Seriously? We aren't even 1 yr into this administration and you guys are already starting to sell us on tight polling for the 2012 race? Don't be stupid....
Really ? It's 2009 now. Let's review this again in 3 years.
Hey, Lets face it. The only one of the three who can truly administer or successfully run a business or a state goverment is Mitt(I saw my father marching with Martin Luther King)Romney.
The GOP has absolutely nothing going on at all. Same names, different poll, same cluelessness.
Luckily they were able to squeeze in this last second poll just 3.5 years before the election.
Personally, we favor Romney, since Huckabee is too religious and unpardonin' in a subtle way. Palin is a beautiful weirdo. Let's see more.
LOL...thats 3 years away and you are reporting poll results. Once again CNN trying to create news....
what race? I haven't heard Palin say she will run for 2012. Really must we continue to see coverage of this nonsense. Palin is estatic that the media keeps her in the spotlight so that she can stay relevant and get the really "big bucks" from the highest bidder. She is not interested in serving her country because of the restrictions that come with being a dedicated public servant.
Oh god 2012 palin
Hmmmm....Mitt, aka the "Mitt-iot", one of the Wall Street con men who lucky enough to get out before his compatriots' fall from grace? Mitt the Morman? Good luck.
Huckabbe? Who has heard him speak and doesn't like him? He sounds thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, but unfortunately has a right wing looney tune fundamentalist pedigree.
Palin? Aka "Palin the Quitter", progenitor of the new Urban Dictionary phrase "Pullin a Palin"? Palin the ethics violation magnet? The same Palin who is severly verbally challenged when she doesn't have an attack speech to read from? Go for it. Please. It'll be fun.
who cares there are no good leaders yet
yes, it is too early! geez, we've only had a new administration for about 7 months and people can't stop talking about which republican is the frontrunner to run against the incumbant. talk about slow news coverage and filler.
For this Republican (NOT right-wing!! There is a difference!) it will not be Palin. Romney or Huckabee for now. Teamed with Guiliani – now that would be an interesting ticket.
I'm curious as to why Gov. Jindal of Louisiana wasn't on the list.
Let's get through 2010 first, though, then we'll see how things shape up.
Are you kidding me? How can OUR COUNTRY come together for one another when the dems are doing one thing and repubs are getting ready for an election thats suppose to happen. We don't even know if we will be here tomorrow yet alone 2012. Which goes to show Capitol Hill has no one up there for the WORKING man or woman.
obama has this is 2012....better luck next time REPUBLICANTS...may 2056
Pretty slim pickins!!
If the Republican Party nominates this publicity seeking right wing zealot to ANYTHING, I will finally revoke my registration. As it is I have stopped contributing. I will find a third party to vote in protest of the Fascists that have taken over my party of 40 plus years and against the Socialists who have taken over the other part.
America's politics have fallen to a sad state.
Go for it Sarah! You have them all on the run. Long may you reign.