(CNN) – She's appeared at Tea Party rallies across the country and long been considered the movement's de facto leader, but a new CNN poll out Friday suggests Sarah Palin isn't the group's clear favorite for the White House.
According to the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney comes in No. 1 among Tea Party supporters with 22 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is second with 19 percent, and the former Alaska governor holds the No. 3 spot with 17 percent of support from the fiscally conservative group.
Full results (PDF)
Given the poll's 7-point margin of error, all three politicos are statistically tied. But while the fact that Palin – arguably the movement's most visible advocate – isn't head and shoulders above the rest of the field may cause a few heads to turn, the numbers are more a reflection of the diversity of the movement, according to Republican consultant Leslie Sanchez.
"Sarah Palin amplifies the concern among many Tea Party voters in the sense of runaway federal government, out of control unchecked spending, and a growing federal deficit," Sanchez said. "But with that said, the story that's rarely told is how diverse the Tea Party is."
Indeed, 52 percent of Republicans say they are active members of the movement in the new CNN poll, compared to 27 percent of independents and 8 percent of Democrats who pledge support to the grassroots organizations.
Still, few national Republicans have appeared at as many tea party-backed events as Palin has, and members of the movement have repeatedly greeted the former presidential nominee with breathless support when she speaks before them.
So just why isn't Palin the clear Tea Party favorite for president?
"They're ultimately looking for solutions beyond the rhetoric," says Sanchez. "There is no doubt Palin engages the base, she amplifies their message. But in the long run, it's going to be who has the best solutions and can sustain a common sense approach to fixing government."
There's no mystery about this at all. Of the three, Romney, Gingritch, and Palin, she is the one that the left has vigorously tried to demonize. Mitt 'n Newt have been completely left alone.
Sarah Palin is open, honest, direct. She tells it like it is. That just ain't "politic", is it.
Maybe the Tea Partiers really can stop frothing at the mouth long enough to see that Sarah Palin is a mental midget who revels in ignorance and will say anything to get ahead.
" . . . the story that's rarely told is how diverse the Tea Party is."
It's rarely told because the Teabaggers are about 97.3 percent old, white bigots.
Rage, rage against the lying of the Right.
Well, it's official now: Tea Partiers are just Republicans by another name. so much for grass roots!
Good thing she is losing. Now the mouthes to nowhere can shut up!
The media annointed her the defacto leader – the people that I have met who consider themselves Tea Party members do not recognize Sarah nor anyone else as a leader or spokesperson for them.
She only seems to be the favorite of a small minority that are fanatical about what she sells.
Mitt Romney? I am deeply afraid of that human being.
Yawn.........slow day fo news?? Because this isn't news.
absolutely amazing how afraid the loony left is of Palin. Someone who doesn't even hold an office..yet, since she stands for American values, terrifies the haters of America...and CNN has to make a mountain out of everything...related to Palin..
Obama's sending our country into bankruptcy, causing racial tensions, letting illegals run wild, fostering union control of industry...spending our tax money carelessly...and CNN's reporting on Palin....
Any one of the top three would be a vast improvement over obamma and lead him in the polls.
Count the minutes before Sarah blames the "lamestream media" for these results....it's never her....can't be her....
I hope they nominate her! That would be fun!
No, she's their leader alright, and Rush runs the Republican Party. You can't fool us *REAL AMERICANS* with your lies.
Shocking to who? – the Palin's perhaps.
Romney or Gingrich would be a huge upgrade over what he have now. Heck even Palin would be better than Obama. We don't need to elect any more untested leaders like Obama so Pailn would never make it out of the GOP primary.
What sort of poll has a +/- error of 7%, a worthless one.
What happened to the time when polls had to be statistically robust to be published. Might as well walk in a bar and ask 10 people their opinion....
p.s. dont have a view on the results of the poll, just the intellectually inept standards used in creating a "news" story.
What do you think? Tea party members are not that dumb either. They know Sarah Palin is not a material fit for presidency.
The Ghidorah party.
I am so sick of all the conservatives acting freaked out by the deficit and blaming it on Obama. A little history here for everyone - when Reagan came in the debt was about $1 trillion, when he left it was $4 trillion (+$3T); when Bush Sr. came in, he added another $2 trillion bringing it to $6 trillion; Clinton actually reduced it slightly, bringing the total to $5 trillion (yes, a drop); Bush Jr. took it from about $5 trillion to $11 trillion when he left. So, of the $11-12 trillion national debt when Obama came in, nearly all of it was from Republicans!
When Bush was elected in 2000 there was a surplus. The conservative call was "the debt doesn't matter, tax cuts are more important." If you don't believe me, read the arguments of the time - particularly the Heritage Foundation's "A Budget for America." Conservatives had 6 years of 1-party rule and did NOTHING!! Now they act like they are the champions of debt reduction?!? No way. And don't pull the "911 happened" argument. IF they cared that much about the debt, they would have funded the war through bonds or tax increases.
Obama is currently PROJECTED to be a little worse than Bush Jr. Those are just projections, he's been in office less than 2 years. Even if he does add on another $6-7 trillion (purely speculative now), Republicans still have more debt on their hands.
Don't be so easily fooled folks...just check history...and don't get your history from uneducated radio folks like Beck and Rush who twist history all the time.
Still cannot understand why anyone would support Sarah Palin for any office. Look what she did with the Governor's office in her home state and McCain's presidential run. She is all about her and lining her own pockets. She cant even keep her own house in order, let alone the country. Her ignorance about key issues still astounds me. She talks in circles and confuses the issues so much that when she is done, you can only shake your head. The woman does not have a clue. She is an embarrassment to working women everywhere. As far as Romney goes, he talks out of two sides of his mouth, changes his position with his underwear. Good luck trying to get ultra conservatives to vote for a Morman. And Gingrich is a has been, he left office in disgrace the last time. My word, cant they come up with anyone better than these people?
The Tea Party needs to face facts - they're an order of fries short of a Happy Meal.
These people are on the same level as the Phelps family from Westboro Baptist Church, and let's face it, there aren't many groups lower down the evolutionary chain than that than I can think of.
Palin has a single-digit I.Q., the Tea Party is a joke, Romney is yesterday's news - do these people not understand that they hold no relevance?
That is a shock. I feel that Palin and the Tea Padiots are mad fer each other.
even the Tea Party don't want her. Miss Palin, PLEASE JUST GO AWAY AND STAY!!!!!!
Palin has always been in number 3 and higher spot with me.
The Tea Party may not be as impossibly ignorant as first thought. Palin is a load stone around the party's neck, and the Tea Party members are finally figuring that out. Just as she likely lost the election for McCain, she is proving to be a detriment to the party she supposedly heads. She is an embarrassment as a politician and a person. Toss her overboard!