WASHINGTON (CNN) – The first primary contest of the 2012 election cycle is more than two years away, but some Republicans are already voting ... sort of.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee - which assists GOP Senate candidates - e-mailed a "Proxy Ballot" to some supporters on Monday asking them which Republican leader is their top choice for the Republican presidential nomination. The survey also asks Republicans to rank the importance of issues like health care, abortion rights and taxes.
While the survey has zero impact on who will be the next GOP nominee, the hypothetical ballot gives the NRSC a chance to tap into early Republican interest in the 2012 election to collect information - and money - from party activists.
So who did the NRSC pick as the Republican favorites? Twelve names appear on the ballot, which is heavy with governors and former governors: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah. Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. John McCain, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
Admittedly, it's a generous list. Romney, Pawlenty and Huckabee are traveling the country and mulling White House bids, but several Republicans on the list - while popular figures within the party - aren't likely to run.
Daniels has said he won't seek the presidency, although that early declaration could be subject to change. Huntsman accepted President Obama's request that he serve as ambassador to China, a move that didn't exactly endear him to Republican primary voters and will keep him busy for the next two years. And McCain, of course, has twice come up short in bids for the White House.