Washington (CNN) - If Donald Trump decides to run for the White House, he would just barely crack double digits in the crowded field of potential GOP candidates, but his entry into the race could hurt former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday also indicates that Democrats may have started to close the enthusiasm gap that plagued them in last year's midterm elections.
Ten percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they would most likely support Trump for the GOP's 2012 presidential nomination.
That would place him fifth on the list behind former Arkansas Gov. and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee at 19 percent, former Massachusetts Gov. and 2008 White House hopeful Mitt Romney at 18 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 14 percent, and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin at 12 percent.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who also ran for the Republican nomination in the last presidential election, is at eight percent, with everyone else in the low single digits.
"Adding Trump to the list of potential candidates doesn't change the GOP standings all that much, since Trump seems to pull his support equally from all the other major candidates," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
But what if Trump decides not to run?
"Removing Trump's name from the list and allocating his voters to their second choice gives Huckabee 21 percent and Romney 19 percent - essentially unchanged from January. In a Trump-less field, Gingrich gets 15 percent, up from 10 percent in January, and Paul goes from 7 percent to 11 percent. Palin is the big loser, dropping from 19 percent in a no-Trump round in January to just 13 percent now," adds Holland.
The poll's release comes just a few hours after word that the businessman, real estate giant, and reality TV star, who is seriously considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, will head to Iowa in June to headline a major GOP dinner. Iowa plays a crucial role in the race for the White House, as its caucuses traditionally kick off presidential primary and caucus season.
Trump, who has said he will decide by June on whether he'll run for president, is also scheduled to speak that month at a political event in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary on the road to the White House.
The poll also indicates that 56 percent of Democrats say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in the next election, up 22 points from last October. Sixty-two percent of Republicans say they feel the same way, up 12 points from last October, just before the midterm elections. That means the GOP's 20 point lead on enthusiasm has narrowed to a six point advantage.
In 2008, 79 percent of Democrats said they were extremely or very enthusiastic about voting, far ahead of the Republicans. That helped produced a high Democratic turnout that helped sweep President Barack Obama into the White House and widened the party's majorities in Congress. The 20 point enthusiasm advantage for the GOP last year helped the party win back control of the House of Representatives and narrowed the Democrats' majority in the Senate.
"Keep your eye on this measure - it has been a good predictor in the last two election cycles and it may help us figure out what's going on next year as well," adds Holland.
The survey also indicates that just over three quarters of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say the party should re-nominate Obama next year, with just over one in five saying another Democrat should be the party's nominee. Those numbers are basically unchanged over the past couple of months.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted March 18-20, with 1,012 people questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
-CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Trump and Palin are made for each other. We need to put them in a rom or better still a boat and let them afloat. It can be great reality show – Dumb and Dumber
Anybody that votes for President Obama is an idiot. He is destroying America. Sarah Palin for President in 2012 for freedom and prosperity..
Simpletons. Neither Trump nor Palin are going to do anything, stop believing this sort of crap.
Proving once again that some Republicans are less intelligent than others. It's a battle royale for those not paying proper attention to the fate of our country, our economy, our enviroment, and our concern for our fellow man. Apparently there's too many greedy, self-centered weasels to choose from, so even Don looks viable to some. Get a grip (and an education), you drips!
The support for Trump and Palin is just the result of the "anger" factor. As we draw closer to the 2012 elections, support for these loonies will go away.
If the Donald is half as intelligent as he thinks he is, he won't waste his money. He has stated that he would be willing to spend $500,000,000. Are we Americans going to allow this man to buy the Presidency?
Donald Trump is the "Apprentice", he fires people before they quit, Palin quits before she's fired. Trump would never support a quitter and loser and expect to get different results. It's just a fact and I don't support either.
How can the Donald be a GOP presidential candidate? He isn't on the Fox news payroll.
Just what this country needs,,,,a guy that can run a casino into bankruptcy.
Her brain and mouth will hurt her chances more than Trum pever would.
This independent is voting for President Obama (AGAIN).
As for Trump he'll be one of the last republicans standing but he will never win. He's too animated and most people don't want animation in the White House. They want principled people of which Donald isn't. In short, another loser.
This guy is living in "never never land"
All ego and no real self awareness at all like so many right wingers.
So, one has no chance of winning anything, and the other has even less?
"Move along, nothing to see here!"
I think "Macho Man" Randy Savage should throw his hat into the ring. He'd beat any of those pointy-headed intellectuals like Sarah Palin!
RUN DONALD RUN
The Donald is a birther. We NEED more crazies to show REAL Republicans how far their party has drifted from sanity and fairness...
The Democratic party welcomes the votes of ALL Independents and disenfranchised Republicans.
Apparently GOPers aren't all that concerned what clown they run in 2012. Speaks volumes as to what direction their party is headed, and why. Good for laughs, but not much else.
Wake up people and see what our country has become , because if your not getting smacked around by the republican party , then your obviously asleep at the wheel . Republicans breed negativity period , if you would take the time and look at their policies they are set up to hurt the poor and the middle-class . Why would anyone vote for a party that's trying to make you work for less.....................
The man is simply toooo ugly to be President of the United States. MAN – is he ugly.
Trump is a complete joke, kept alive by media hype. How many of you know where he got his money? How many of you know that he has nearly gone broke twice, only to be rescued from bankruptcy by his buddies?
What would hurt Palin more in the polls is if she decided to run for president
Trump, like Palin will draw those that like hype with no substance. Trump is touting his show "your birth certificate campaign" about Obama. He has. He has a valid US PASSPORT. You cannot get one without showing a certificate of live birth,
Trump is no more qualified than I am to be PResident and by knowing this, I just became MORE qualified than him.
I fail to understand how he gets ANY woman to wake up to that face in the morning. UGH
Don't expect Palin to run if Trump does, she doesn't want to lose her money.
And his head doesn't work too good either.
Donald Trump carries a lot of baggage with him. He has had successful and unsuccessful ventures. He continually needs positive press. He is getting the headlines he desires to match his ego. He is not my idea of someone who works well with others. His candidacy would hurt not help the United States.
Tell me Warren Buffett and I might agree with that.