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. Russ

    Boy is this sad. The Republicant's are counting on three previous losers as their best shot in 2012? The party is doomed. Sorry, I forgot it was doomed already.

    July 16, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Fred Palafox

    When it is all said and done I don't think that you will see any of these individuals on the GOP ticket in 2012. They all carry too much baggage. The biased media (as Palin calls anyone but Fox) is going to have a field day with her, and Romney and Huckabee just don't seem to excite the masses.

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

    Those people that favored Palin in the poll must have been " pretend to be Democrats". I hate to say it liberals do those kind of things. The poll is a fake. I have talked to many Republicans and my survey shows a 100% for Romney. Granted these people were all intelligent people. There is no way Palin is going to win the Republican nomination in 2012. I think this is a dream created by the press as a joke so that all the moron liberals will have a laugh at all this nonsence.

    July 16, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Jefe

    Romney will OWN Palin. Palin will guarantee herself no place by inciting violence against Mormons in her hate-filled rallies.

    July 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Mike Moser

    All 3 scare me.

    July 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. RB in Florida

    "Tight race" for what?? She couldn't finish the job she was originally elected to do in the first place? What is it with the GOP? Have you got a screw loose? The woman quit her job so she could go fishing. Is she gonna do the same thing if elected President? Catch a clue, forget her, and move on to someone who is reliable and will "finish" the job.

    July 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. carrie miller

    please run sarah we want total control for 8 years/ thanks from a democrat white woman /on social security AND medicare

    July 16, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. Lisa

    It is still mind-boggling to me that anyone, Republicans, Independents, actually anyone, would find this woman to be presidential material. With all of the problems this country is now facing, she must be hoping that they are all gone by 2012. Her popularity stems from the fact that most people watch her or listen to her speak due to the 100% chance she will say something stupid or totally mangle her syntax. She's not bright, she's not coherent. It would be unimaginable to picture her negotiating with any other world leader or expressing her views at a G-8 conference. Actually I find it scary that there are potential voters out there who back her 100%. Who are these people and what planet do they inhabit??

    July 16, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. John

    Wow, I never would have guessed the base was still that enamored with Palin. I hope the party looks out beyond the lit up very conservative base to see that the light dims very rapidly as you enter into the woods of independents and let alone liberals.

    It is the old feeling that "since everyone I associate with acts just like me, we must have a winner on our hands. "

    July 16, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. In-Lite-Ted

    Run Sarah Run!
    Please RunAway for good.

    July 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Grog in Ohio

    Run Sarah, run. Nothing could more solidly guarantee an Obama 2nd term!

    July 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Leonard

    I wish she would just go away. She has single handedly set women back 50 years. She needs to go do some research and know what her platform is or better yet anything she he talks about before she tries to run for any office again.

    July 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Jeff from PDX

    What about Joe the Plumber? VP?

    July 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    A 3 way race for second place.

    July 16, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Common Sense

    Hey CNN – check your calendar. Its July, 2009. Find something serious to report on rather than a presidential primary race that will not occur for another 2 and 1/2 years. Why not report on the race for the presidency in 2028? The state of reporting and the media really cannot go much lower.

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

    CNN, you are losing me as a reader if you continue to give nut job Palin the amount of coverage that you do.

    July 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. D Kummer

    Obama 58% Romney 42%

    July 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. GOP = Party of Tolerance

    I am flabbergasted at the huge crowds Palin draws as well as the large number of donors. Palin hasn't even started active fundraising yet! She will always be underestimated by the elites, but there is no doubt that Palin is an attractive candidate who aroused the interest of an adoring public in 2008. Now having moved on to a higher calling, she is the undisputed frontrunner for 2012. She combines exceptional charisma with an intuitive ability to relate to working people. Who cares if she doesn't read? Obviously Americans don't considering we elected "W" for 2 terms.

    July 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. Mike from Philly

    Are we seriously going to start talking about this now. Let the people who were elected run the country, and start this nonsense in 2010 at least. Republican, Democrat, Independent, whatever you are, folks have to agree that running stories like this 3 years before the election is a sign that the 24 hour news machine is getting out of control.

    July 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. In-Lite-Ted

    If these are the best our party has to offer, we are all in trouble.

    July 16, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. mogcoop

    surely you jest.......is this a joke or what? Sarah Palin for President? She brought down the Republicans in 2008, let's have her run again in 2012 to assure another Democratic Win!!

    July 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Tom I.

    Speaking as a liberal, I would dearly love to see the Republicans nominate Palin, Huckabee, or Gingrich. I feel that the single person most responsible for Obama being elected, next to Obama himself, was Palin. Until the people really got to see her up close and personal, McCain was leading in the polls.

    I can't imagine any of these three having strong appeal to the independent and middle of the road voters.

    July 16, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Daivie

    Can you imagine a Frost/Palin debate ? Even Limbaugh would cringe.

    July 16, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. Mark, Phoenix

    Thank God. A couple of born'agin religious zealots waiting for the rapture and a guy with a religion not trusted by born'agins. Sounds like a perfect storm to me!

    July 16, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Antonio De La Cruz

    This is for my Republican "friends". I am a Democrat that believes in the two or three party system. I absolutely do not want the Democrats to win every election by whatever means, that is not good for our country. I like to see that the party who has the better candidate and better plan for American's best interest to come up the winner. I wish that you had selected a better and more intellegent candidate than you did when GWB was elected. That is in the past now but still I would have liked to have seen him as a great president that brought us peace and great economic success rather than the mess he left behind. Please do your homework and do a darn good evaluation of the candidates you select to run for the presidency. The person should have in-depth knowledge in domestic issues as well as international. To mention Ms. Sarah Palin as a viable candidate for this extremely important position is not fair to her and certainly not good for our country.

    July 16, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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