Poll: Most Americans can't name GOP candidates
April 21st, 2011
04:16 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Most Americans can't name GOP candidates

Washington (CNN) - The growing number of Republican presidential hopefuls face a long road to gain support and attention from their party and other Americans, according to a new poll.

Americans remain relatively unaware of the various potential 2012 GOP candidates, according to results from a Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday. The survey found that more than half of Americans cannot name a single GOP presidential candidate.

Donald Trump is currently the most outspoken and the most visible of the potential candidates. Twenty-six percent of responders tagged the real-state mogul as the most public contender.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney trails far behind.. His presidential hopes are on the radar of nine percent of Republican responders. Sarah Palin came in third at four percent. Only one percent of people said they've heard most about Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.

While 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls are being given their fair share of media attention, only 20 percent of respondents reported closely following the 2012 presidential candidates, opting to focus their attention on the disaster in Japan, the most closely followed story during the second week of April, according to the survey.

A separate poll finds that a majority of Republicans keeping tabs on the early presidential players are not yet sold on any current potential candidate. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll released Thursday, nearly 60 percent of Republican voters cannot single out a candidate they were excited about.

When asked if there was any potential GOPer they felt enthusiastic about, nine percent of Republican voters were keen on Romney. Another contender garnering a small support base of eight percent was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Falling in third at seven percent was Donald Trump.

Huckabee was viewed most favorably by Republican voters who were asked how they felt about specific potential GOP candidates. Nearly eight in ten Republican respondents said they did not know enough about Tim Pawlenty to come up with a favorable or unfavorable view of the former Minnesota governor in the poll. Eighty-five percent of Republican respondents did not know enough about Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour to form an opinion.

The Pew poll surveyed data from the top news stories in the week of April 14-17 among 1,015 adults. It has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The New York Times/CBS poll was conducted by telephone April 15-20, among 1,332 adults. The sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Polls
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. gt

    most americans are worried about the house payment, kids grades, gas prices and whats for diner....its a long time till 2012...just ticker folks can name g o p canidates...opps we need to get a life.....

    April 21, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    I cannot name any GOTP candidates, either. Except for lesser knowns who need a jump on fund raising, they haven't really declared their candidacy. Technically, one could argue that there aren't any GOTP candidates.

    (I just wanted slip GOTP in there, once or twice.)

    April 21, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Bill

    How about Potential candidates?

    April 21, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. ConservaFascists -aka- Mammon

    It's sad to say, but most Americans are just plain dumb. Majority are the people who watch Fixed, I mean Fox Entertainment News.

    April 21, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Ptown

    2012 band of crazy...

    April 21, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. GOP reaps what they sow

    This is a surprise in what universe?

    April 21, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. Frank

    Makes sense. Most people can't name the different types of manure either....the other presidential candidate.

    April 21, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. rusty155

    I do but can't say I like any of them. They are really three bad one Saran Palin, Michele Bachmann, And Donald Trump couldn't win and are IDIOT.

    April 21, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. SC

    That's because nobody cares.

    April 21, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    MOST Americans don't care – they won't get our vote. Bring out the computers that installed Dubya and maybe they'll get close to PRESIDENT OBAMA.

    April 21, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Becuase right now there is only one canddate- Romney. All the others are just taking up space in the press and giving the media something to do. As for potential candidates- I call them Frick, Frack, Quack, Wack and Hack- the real names are interchangable, but at least can cover the top five.
    Say Thank you CNN and FOX- without them what woudl you fill 24/7 programming with?

    April 21, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. thomas

    Huey , Dooie , Louie , Larry , Curley and Moe ?

    April 21, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. carrotroot

    Call me when one of these idiots actually makes a formal announcement that they are running for President.

    April 21, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. The Situation

    Maybe because all of these clowns are nothing but a joke! Your only candidate, Romney is the only person that has a true chance and the problem with him is when he was Governor of Mass, gave them the same type of healthcare as Obama did.

    April 21, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. keylargo

    I know them all from Romney to Santorum, and a more motley crew I've never seen.

    April 21, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Dan

    Don't ask the Republicans to do with a trillion dollar deficit. They continue to bring up those who helped bring us a deficit. Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2. So it really doesn't surprise me that anyone cannot identify the current GOP candidates! As for the Tea Party candidates, if elected, their environmental policies will render tap water in this country a health hazard for a pot of tea!

    April 21, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on America!

    I name them

    ""this little piggy is a birther, this little piggy is a neocon. This little piggy is crazy; and this little piggy is owned (by the filthy rich."

    April 21, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. KAZPORT

    How many people could name Barack Obama before he ran??? No one

    April 21, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on YOU!

    Romney is not a viable candidate for America by any stretch of the imagination. He made his fortune greedily destroying jobs and preying on average Americans. You might as well let a pedophile run a preschool.

    April 21, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    I could name all the losers a few months ago. Right now they are coming out of the walls like roaches. Anyone who has been a governor (even the hafl term) or is/was a representative or senator or a disgraced speaker of the house is fair game on the growing list of clowns.

    April 21, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Cheech

    They sure CAN name them, all with four-letter words.

    April 21, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. blake

    This is because most Americans are politically illiterate. Ever watch JayWalking? Elections have become beauty contests where a large percentage of voters based their decision on extremely superficial issues like: appearance, hipness, public speaking skills, skills of the candidates marketing team, 15 and 30 second sound bites. It is disgusting. It is a big part of the reason the country is in the mess it is.

    April 21, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    I'm just curious to see who the Democrats will nominate.

    April 21, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Marko

    That is interesting since they are all slammed in our faces day in and day out. However, all of them are also very forgettable for substance, but memorable for being characters.

    April 21, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Glennf

    Let me see, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful (hardly).......... I need to look up the other 4

    April 21, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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