Washington (CNN) - She may be the best known Republican politician considering a bid for the White House, but Sarah Palin comes in third in a hypothetical horserace for the next GOP presidential nomination, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday also indicates that President Barack Obama would top the former Alaska governor by double digits in a possible 2012 general election showdown.
Full results (pdf)
The survey found that 24 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning Independents say they would most likely support Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, in the battle for the 2012 GOP nomination. And 20 percent said they would back former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who also ran for the White House in 2008. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's running mate in the last presidential election, came in third place with 15 percent, a point ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
According to the poll, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, another 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, would be in fifth place, with eight percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour all register in the lower single digits in the hypothetical 2012 GOP presidential nomination matchup.
"Huckabee does best among women, regular church-goers, and Republicans who never attended college," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Romney gets better numbers among white collar Republicans and GOPers who attend church once a month or less. Palin does not win among any of those groups, despite the fact that she has a higher favorable rating among Republicans than Huckabee, Romney or Gingrich."
What about the hypothetical general election matchup in 2012 against President Obama?
The poll shows Obama topping Romney 53 percent to 45 percent, beating Huckabee 54 percent to 45 percent, defeating Gingrich 55 percent to 43 percent and topping Palin 55 percent to 42.
"It is important to remember that at this stage of the game, candidate matchups are largely driven by name recognition, and at least a quarter of all Americans are unfamiliar with Romney, Huckabee and Gingrich. As a result, Obama has an 8- to-12-point edge over each of them in hypothetical matchups," adds Holland. "But in a previous CNN poll, Obama managed no better than a tie against an unnamed Republican."
But there is something more than name recognition at work in Obama's big lead over Palin.
"Palin is almost as well known as Obama, but the general public appears to have some doubts about what they have seen of her so far," says Holland.
The poll found that 61 percent of Americans think Palin is not a typical politician, and half see her as honest and trustworthy. But 54 percent say they don't agree with her on the issues, 56 percent say she is not a strong and decisive leader, and 69 percent say she is not qualified to be president. Palin is popular in the South and in rural areas, but her unfavorable rating is at or near 60 percent among women, suburbanites, Independents, and in the Northeast and West.
The poll was conducted April 9-11, with 1,008 adult Americans, including 907 registered voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for the sample of 498 Republicans and Republican leaning Independents.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Palin/Smailin', who cares. She is not going to get it. Americans were ripe for picking their 1st black President. (Which by the way, is doing a hell of a job considering what was left on his plate from the past obstinate admin.) Do you forget so soon? It will be awhile before a women is elected unless Hillary speeds things up a little! All palin is is eye candy to most folks. Yummy but too much can make you sick.
What's scary is 42% of the people polled would vote for someone who didn't know Africa was a continent ,thinks dinosaurs lived during the time of ancient Greece and doesn't know what the constitutional role of the vice president is (Palin).
CNN, this is stupid. Why don't you spend some time explaining the science of climate change to people instead? All these "hypothetical" candidates are has-beens and I just hope GOP runs one of them – it would be a much worse loss than what McCain experienced.
"Palin is popular in the South and in rural areas, but her unfavorable rating is at or near 60 percent among women, suburbanites, Independents, and in the Northeast and West"
You mean Palin is unpopular among intelligent people? Ha! Go figure!
Palin... Isn't her 15 minutes up yet?
Palin is a celebrity, not a serious contender. I'm sure the people in charge at the GOP know this too. Come 2012 it'll be someone like Huckabee and Romney, and Palin will be left to host some show on Fox News. I support Obama and want to see him continue after 2012, but if the Republicans think they can do better, surely they can try with a superior candidate than Palin. There's plenty to choose from.
If they let her (Palin) wear gloves during the debates and remove them half way through, she could double her knowledge base. This should move her up in the poll a bit.
What is the point of taking a poll to see who your Lib followers would like to see the GOP nominate to run against Obama?
So what this says about palin is that if the only people voting were short a couple of chromosones and a few teeth she might stand a chance.
What ? So far no Obama haters on here insulting the duly elected President of the United States yet?
So this "newsworthy" story is trying to prove what? That Obama against the 3rd best GOP opponent would be a landslide victory, if held today?
Where's the reverse poll? How about Romney or Huckabee versus John Edwards? That's about as scientific.
Palin is an insult to any sentient human being.
She doesn't belong in the same sentence as Obama.
CNN- Why the continual hype for the Alaskan Air Head? You are forever shoving her in our faces.
CNN are you becoming a tabloid? How dare you put Palin in the category of Huckabee, Romney and President Obama. OMG
Once again......Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Paul Ryan. This is the third time I have said this and I imagine this won't go through again-
The biggest surprise in this poll seems to be that even her own party now recognizes what everyone elso discovered long ago.....she ain't got it!
And the Northeast and West is where most of the people are! Haha.... Told you SP would never win.
Sarah Palin is like a "grasshopper tries to use one of the legs to stop a running vehicle"...she is so incapable of knowing how incompetent she is....
Is this even a serious question? Are you kidding me? What a joke. She's an shrilling idiot and is not capable of leading this country or any other for that matter. Can we put this to rest?
Palin, the governor that quit her term, that works for Fox News and has a reality show will be the GOP nomination, how sad is that for the GOP? I would say bring it on, but it would be a painful 2 years for most Americans listening to Palin sound coherent on any foreign or domestic issues. I hope she sticks to her reality show in Alaska and goes away.
With a draw like this the president has nothing to worry about. The best they have in Romney, reminds me of a car salesman.
So, the fear towards Palin and Gingrich is pretty deep all over the country. Yikes-it's not just me!
I have no doubts about Sarah Palin. She's a good match against Yosemite Sam and she'd trounce Foghorn Leghorn, but anybody else out there would embarass her.
An idiot like GW would beat palin. She's a moron and if the republicans pick her she'll be the best hope the democrats ever had.
I hope she runs so that it will a landslide.
Run Sarah Run,,,,,,,, we need Obama
So American brains haven't become totally addled. That's a relief!