Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - One day before a CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader Republican presidential debate, a new national poll suggests that when it comes to the next election for the White House, Republicans put winning over ideological purity.
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday morning, three-quarters of Republicans and GOP leaning independent voters say they want a party nominee who can defeat President Barack Obama in 2012, even if that person doesn't agree with them on every issue. That's up seven percentage points from January.
Read full results (pdf).
Only 24 percent say that they want a candidate who agrees with them on every issue even if that person may not be able to beat Obama next year, down five points from the beginning of the year.
The poll also indicates that the two best-known potential GOP presidential hopefuls - Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani - are also the ones with the highest favorable rating among Republicans.
"That may explain why they feel they can wait before throwing their hats in the ring," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
Both the former Alaska governor and the former New York City mayor say they are considering bids for the GOP nomination, but neither to date has taken concrete steps towards a presidential run.
According to the survey, the highest unfavorable ratings among Republicans go to Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who are each disliked by about a quarter of the voters.
More than half of all Republicans don't have an opinion of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman or businessman and radio talk show host Herman Cain.
"The race may ultimately be shaped by the unknowns in the field, underscoring the importance of CNN's debate on Monday night," adds Holland.
The poll takes a closer look at how Republicans perceive the five best-known candidates or potential candidates for the nomination. Two-thirds say that Romney can beat the president in the general election; a majority also say that about Giuliani, but most Republicans think that Obama would beat Palin, Gingrich or Paul.
Who is qualified to be president? According to the survey, three-quarters say that Giuliani and Romney are qualified; six in 10 say the same about Palin, but she still lags well behind on that score.
Palin's big advantage is the perception that she is not a typical politician. Seven in 10 Republicans feel that way about the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee. Most of those questioned see Romney as a typical politician.
Eight in 10 say that Palin agrees with them on issues that they care about the most. A respectable 64 percent feel the same way about Romney, but that still gives Palin an advantage on issues, and on values as well - nearly eight in 10 say that she represent the values of Republicans like themselves.
The poll also looks at how all Americans view the political parties. Fifty-five percent say they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, with four in 10 seeing it in an unfavorable light. Forty-nine percent say the have a favorable view of the Republican Party, with 45 saying they see the GOP in an unfavorable light.
As for the two and a half year old tea party movement, 35 percent say they see it in a favorable way, with 47 percent holding an unfavorable view.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted June 3-7, with 1,015 adult Americans, including 433 Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, 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.
CNN hosts the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on Monday from Manchester at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.