(CNN) – Three familiar Republicans are neck-and-neck in a hypothetical race for the 2012 GOP nomination, according to a new Gallup poll, and they're the same three that have taken the top spots in recent surveys.
Though Mike Huckabee is ahead of the pack with 18 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents saying they'd be most likely to support the former Arkansas governor in a Republican primary, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are hot on his heels and tied, each with 16 percent of the vote.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman rank in the poll as relative newcomers. Both are mulling over a formal run to the White House and picking up notoriety in the meantime. Bachmann, who delivered the Tea Party response to this year's State of the Union address, received four percent support in the poll and Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, received three percent support. He recently hand-delivered a resignation of his post as ambassador in a move that stirred up the presidential candidate rumor mill.
Support ratings at this stage in the presidential race are highly reliant on name recognition. And though Donald Trump may have a household name, he registered less than one percent support in the Gallup poll. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, rank in the middle, while Mississippi Gov.Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are tied at three percent support.
And even though South Dakota Sen. John Thune is firmly against a White House bid for 2012, one percent of the respondents expressed their support for his candidacy.
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,326 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents by telephone from February 18-20. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.