December 5th, 2008
04:12 PM ET
14 years ago

Huckabee and Palin top early 2012 list

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Poll suggests Gov. Sarah Palin is a 2012 presidential hopeful."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama is still more than six weeks from White House, and the next Iowa caucuses are more than three years away — so naturally, it’s time to start talking 2012, as a new national poll suggests that Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee top the list of potential 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey out Friday that serves as an early measure of potential support for the next GOP presidential nomination, Huckabee tops the list. Thirty-four percent of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP say they are very likely to support the former Arkansas governor if he were to become their party’s nominee in 2012. Huckabee surprised many by winning this year's Republican caucuses in Iowa and seven other contests before ending his run in March.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate in this year's election, draws nearly as much support: 32 percent of those polled said they would get behind a Palin nomination. And with the survey's sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 points, Palin and Huckabee are statistically tied.

The survey is an early measure of possible support, not a horse race snapshot.

“It might come as a surprise to some that Palin does better than Huckabee among GOP men but that Huckabee beats Palin among Republican women,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Palin's strength is also concentrated among older Republicans, but Huckabee may have a slight edge among conservative Republicans."

Among voters who consider themselves born again or evangelical, Huckabee draws more support than Palin, with a 9 point edge. Meanwhile, Palin holds a 7-point advantage among non-born again or evangelical voters.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is in third place in the poll, with 28 percent of those questioned saying they are very likely to suport him as the GOP nominee in 2012.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich draws roughly the same level of support as Romney, at 27 percent. In 2007, Gingrich flirted with making a run for the Republican presidential nomination, but decided against jumping into the race.

Twenty-three percent of those polled say they would be very likely to support Rudy Giuliani if he decides to run again. The former New York City mayor was the national frontrunner in many polls in late 2007, before performing poorly in the early primaries and caucuses. He dropped out of the race for the White House in late January.

Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who's considered a rising star in the GOP, draws support from 19 percent of those surveyed, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist 7 percent.

“Jindal and Crist are relative unknowns. The fact that they get much less support than the others is likely a function of name recognition rather than a true measure of their potential base of support," says Holland.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, with 460 Republicans and independent voters who lean Republican questioned by telephone.

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (868 Responses)
  1. Lisa Hamilton

    I disagree with most of your comments and think Sarah Palin is an incredibly formidable leader of the future. Obama is a hyped up egocentric, arrogant elitist who is going to put our country in more debt and danger than ever. Hollywood invented him, and the "non-thinkers" of America elected him.

    December 5, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. Eleanor

    why can't palin be on the ticket with oj !gottayou

    December 5, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Concerned in CA

    We should all focus on the new president getting things done, not on 2012 – hopefully Obama and team thinks of nothing but trying to solve the countries problems.

    December 5, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. Gene Car

    Polls at this early stage are probably silly. Still, I find the attitudes to Gov Palin very strange. If we can think of a presidential election as a hiring process, and since this is an executive position, then the first question I would ask of any applicants is; what executive experience have you had, for how long and during that period what have your accomplishments been? And can you vouch for these accomplishments with evidence and references. I am not so much interested in what you say you can do or how you say it, but what have you actually done, and what I can infer about your attitudes, knowledge and skills and how you applied them in practice. Of the four people on the ticket recently, only Gov Palin has had executive experience, although I would give Obama creditt for superb campaign management as a surrogate for such experience. No objective person with a sense of justice can deny that Gov Palin has accomplished much in her short time as Gov of Alaska. And at high personal and political risk. And, given her high approval ratings (still) the citizens of Alaska seem to agree. I am sure that in the process of reform she has made bitter enemies, who will dispute this conclusion. Yes, her executive actions as Gov can be critically evaluated. But the point is that there are actions to critically evaluate. The executive actions of the other candidates are pretty thin on the ground. Nor can I find any evidence that Gov Palin has allowed her personal (and obviously sincere) religious convictions interfere with her work as a Gov. There is no evidence that she has banned books, forced education authorities to teach 'creationism', etc. On the contrary, (and I stand to be corrected on this), i understand she vetoed attempts to rescind same-sex benefits legislation. There seems to be a trend abroad too that only unattractive women should aspire to high office. If a State is a microcosm of the US, then being a succesfull Governor is surelyt he best apprenticeship to high National Office. Time will tell but Gov Palin deserved to be given as much fair and just consideration as anyone else.

    December 5, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. Laura

    Rahm Emanuel 2016!!!!

    December 5, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  6. Kathryn

    Did the Republican party learn ANYTHING from the last eight years and the clock cleaning they got during the recent election?

    No. For 2012 they are flocking to old farts and wack jobs for leadership.


    I predict another Democratic landslide in 2012.

    December 5, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. PAPPY


    December 5, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. Anna

    eh...don't really see Romney and the rest letting Palin slither past the primaries.

    December 5, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Sarah B

    I believe Palin will be aroung a long time. She is newsworthy. an attraction, and has lots of sex appeal. That sells! She could have gone to 6 more schools, and it would not have made any difference. As long as she stays in Alaska, no harm done. In the meantime, there is a country to run, which happens to be in a world of trouble. Pray we get through 2009 before planning for 2012.

    December 5, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. Brenda

    why and the heck are we talking about 2012 when Obama hasn't even took office yet. What the heck is the facination with Palin. Can you even in your wildest nightmare picture this lady in charge of our country. Yikes!

    December 5, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Phil in Ca

    Dumb and Dumber thanks RNC.

    December 5, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  12. Change - Yeah Left!

    I adore Sarah, however, she's not where the RNC needs to go.

    I agree with almost all of her stances – but then I'm a woman who doesn't belive that I need to be a feminist. I don't believe that we need to kill our babies (I was raped and had my child and gave it up for adoption when I was 21, so NO excuses).

    As much as I think she would be a good leader, the majority of the country belittles her and won't support her so no, I don't think Sarah should run – which is a pity, because she has MORE experience than the Osama Obama bin Obamanation that is going to destroy America.

    December 6, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. mikee

    To clifford;
    Obama got a majority of the smart voters and don't believe Zogby because they are the FOX news of polling. They edit polls and video. I bet they don't have a video of Mc Pallin voters.

    December 6, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. howIroll

    In 1976 the Dems mocked the Repubs who claimed Reagan would be their standard bearer in 2000. He totally flubbed debates that year. Dems and moderate Republicans said, "he's too stupid, he doesn't know anything about foreign policy," etc. But he had something no other GOP candidate did...CHARISMA. And he learned over the next 4 years, wrote a book, appeared on talk shows, etc. Who was laughing in 1980?

    Palin does have charisma....she has a lot of work to do but if she studies up and gets herself on sunday talk shows, she's got the personality to draw people in.

    December 6, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. Bill

    CW "I caught part of Barbara Walter's interview with Tina Fey last night. She seemed to think that her impersanation of Sarah Palin did'nt hurt her at all. I disagree. I did not see the whole thing, but I wonder if Barbara asked if she was a Democrat? I wonder if Tina would like a try at Michelle Obama? Any one think she'd do it? I don't think so!"

    Fey is physically similar to Palin and she quoted her WORD FOR WORD.
    When Palin's OWN WORDS can be used to mock her with such hilarious results then the problem is with Palin not Tina Fey!

    December 6, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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