(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.
That picture, is all too telling. It harkens to the 3 monkeys: No see, No Speak, No Hear. This is how the three of them treat america, and it's citizens, respectively.
I hope the GoP runs them and runs them good ...
a sure-fire win for Obama in 2012 ...
I'm donating to these clowns, all of them ...
HUCK-A-BYE PALIN on a MITT-TOP
When 2012 rolls in – you all will just DROP
And everyone would wonder – where have you been!
Because in 2012 – OBAMA WILL WIN!!!!!
LOL – Give it up – YOU were LOSERS in 2008 and you will be LOSERS in 2012!!
Wow. This is going to be an all out comedy or circus show
Really CNN..... it's 2009. You're speculating about 2012?
Give it a rest and report NEWS, not conjecture. Or is that too much to ask?
really sad commentary on Repubs
Why do you even report this drivel? 455 Republican and right-leaning respondents? Why don't you just survey Romney, Palin and Huckabee's families?
Why does CNN insist on promoting the presidency of has-been Sarah Palin? Your viewers have consistently asked you to stop giving her so much free press.
This is so stupid. Do you guys not forget that there are 3 1/2 years until the next election and another 2 before people really event start talking about serious candidates. Please tell me who on this message board was promoting Obama for prez in early 2005.....any takers?
Just goes to show how out of touch the GOP party really is. Sarah Palin for President. God help us all.
If that is the best the republicans can come up with, God help the USA
What a waste of time. President Obama just took the oath of office 6 months ago, and there are already polls being conducted for an election that won't take place for over three years? Ridiculous!
Let's worry about this country's problems and not waste time with something that far into the future.
Honestly, when will you guys just shut up about this no-talent wannabe that John McCain tried to shove down our throats, back when she and John LOST ?
so nobody seems to care that an elected official deserted her position with 18months left in the term?
I fully expect that one day soon, CNN will do a poll for the 2016 or 2020 presidential race. Will it be Chelsea Clinton vs. some grand child of Ted Kennedy on the Democratic side? Maybe the Bush twins against each other on the Repugnant side? Maybe there are people as yet unborn who could be in a presidential poll for a mid-century election.
C'mon, CNN. The world is full of news. When is the last time you did a story about something that didn't involve a dead celebrity or fantasy political races?
Pretty pathetic choices, if you ask me. Guess I'll be voting for Obama, again. Would have voted for McCain if he had chosen a more qualified VP choice.
It is too early to talk about this, you embarrassing hacks. How about reporting the news? Oh right, that would take some work.
According to Time magazine's interview with Gov. Palin,Former Alaska state senator Kim Elton, who pushed the first ethicss complaint received a job with the Obama Administration. Of course the national media wont investigate why Obama hired this guy.
So where did CNN get the picture of The Three Stooges?
Your reporter's contention that Sarah Palin is "considerably better known" since she has remained firmly in the "headlines" since she was tapped as the VP running mate for McCain makes it quite the miracle that her approval rating is 72%. THINK about it – she has been demonized, scrutinized and thrown under the bus daily by the mainstream media, yet we still love her!!! Why ???? – the very fact that she is real and honest and no matter how much trash is thrown at her unfairly – it just won't stick. I think this lady is the real deal. She says what she means and means what she says and on top of it all – she is real America – not a member of some elite, out-of-touch, group of politicians out for major power grabs. You can add my vote to the 72% SARAH FOR PRESIDENT 2012!!!!!
Well with these three as the front runners looks like Obama again in 2012. Kkeep it up republicans you may never see the oval office again.
We need a third party and we need it soon.
I think this says more about the weakness of the fiels than it does about the strength of any one candidate.
Palin cannot manage her family or the state of Alaska. How could she possibly be considered to be a Presidential hopeful? Four colleges to complete an undergraduate degree... enough said.
Wonderful. Three candidates.
Are the Republicans really in such a pathetic state that these three are the best they can do? None of the three are electable, and Palin is a joke. The fact that she is even in the top three speaks volumes.