June 2nd, 2009
03:16 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: No frontrunner in GOP 2012 presidential race

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll of Republicans suggests that there's no front runner at this extremely early moment in the next race for the White House.

Three possible candidates are all bunched at the top of a CNN/Opinion Research
Corporation survey released Tuesday.

The survey suggests that 22 percent of Republicans would most likely support former Arkansas governor and former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for their party's presidential nomination in 2012. Twenty-one percent say they would most likely back Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, with an equal number supporting former Massachusetts governor and former White House hopeful Mitt Romney.

Taking into account the poll's 4.5 percent sampling error, Huckabee, Palin and Romney seem to be locked in a hypothetical dead heat.

The poll indicates that 13 percent of Republicans would back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2012, with 6 percent supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Ten percent of those questioned say they would most likely back someone else.

"The Republicans have three very well known candidates. No one is a clear favorite among the three. The race appears to be wide open at this very early date," says CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

"Republicans typically nominate someone familiar who's run for president before, such as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain. But since the party appears to be in trouble right, Republicans might want to do what Democrats typically do, and look for a fresh face," adds Schneider.

The poll's release comes on the same day that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced that he won't run next year for a third term. Pawlenty's decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid in 2010 is seen by some political analysts as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012.

The poll's release also comes as Romney's recent schedule gives the impresison of a man intent on running for the White House again. On Monday, Romney criticized the Obama administration over national security at a speech sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. Friday he was the keynote speaker at a major Republican Party dinner in Virginia. He's campaigned recently for GOP gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, and he's a frequent guest on cable news programs and Sunday talk shows.

Asked Sunday about a bid in 2012, Romney told Fox News that "I'm not going to close that door" - although, he added, "I'm not going to walk through it either."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 14-17, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for Republican presidential nomination question is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Filed under: GOP
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Robert J

    It seems the Republicans are trying to enhance their image by criticizing Pres Obama and the democratic party. Which for Dem's id GOOD. For Repugs it is defining who and what exactly was defeated when pres. Obama was elected. Wake up Rpeugs. you are a 1 in 5 minority with a similar IQ.

    June 2, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. ghost

    It'll be a race to finish 2nd in the national election. Especially if things are on the rebound by 2011.

    June 2, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. FJ from Atlanta

    they all suck!

    June 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. John

    "That's ok anyone could beat this mickey mouse of a president."

    Yeah, you're probably right. It's not like he won by the largest margin of votes since 1980 or anything. Oh, wait...

    Huckabee, Palin, or Romney?

    If that's all the GOP has to offer, better start planning for 2016!

    June 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PA

    The Republicans have so many great leaders it is hard to decide who is the best. If Obama is the best the Democrats can offer we the Republicans are a definite winner in 2012.

    June 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. John

    What are the Repugnents going to do? They can't find a head Lemming......
    "Flush" Limbaugh a winner...of the big fat, addicted, talking head award. What a joke that someone would even put his name up as a leader.
    You Repugnents are in a world of hurt!

    June 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Dawn in Pa

    Mitt and Sarah, what a religious extreme duo, one who wants the Pagan in me to disappear and the other go forth and multiply, and multiple wives. Freedom means freedom..

    @Teleprompter of the USA, get a life...Have you ever heard GWB talk, if not and you want to have a giggle, go to Bushism, there you would hear the most hilarious gaffs, and you think that Biden is a gaffer, W is funny, Biden just sticks his foot in his mouth... Please don't speak about a teleprompter, he writes his own and he looks at the people not at a piece of paper.

    June 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. Deb

    An easy victory for Democrats I am sure.

    June 2, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Terry, Cape Coral, Florida

    Oh please, 22% of the GOP vote. That would be the enire conservative movement. 22% accounts for how many vote nationally? Um, about 20 million.... Beyond all of that, WHEN IS THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION??? 2012, why is CNN going with this right now???

    June 2, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. nick

    The current Republican Party is still very much in doubt about their future.There is still 3.8 years to go on Pres.Obama┬┤s 1st. term. Why not think about the "HOW" to get back on track, rather then the "WHO".
    I am positive that none of the names on this current , "FRONT RUNNER" poll are the leaders who can stop the Democratic frieght train. Huckabee and Palin are never going to get their Parties support as they are to extreame for our voting population at this time in our history. The rest seem to be a continuation of the recent past, which is not going to sway the voters, short of Obama making a very major blunder, like a criminal offence. They should be consentrating on good policy ideas rather then objecting to any democratic ideas. The party of, NO, stigma is going to be their downfall in 2012 if they do not start to contribute to our well being.

    June 2, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    If Obama doesn't get his act together, I will definitely NOT be voting for him next time around. We will see who needs who?

    June 2, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. PaulMoATX

    That's because we don't give a crap who the GOP is putting forth as front runners in 2012. Pawlenty, Jindal, Palin, and Sanford are not Presidential material and will get dominated by the President in 2012. Obama knows it, we the people know it, and the potential candidates know it also. We'll see you guys in 2016.

    June 2, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. John

    "My dog could run and beat the current joke of a president that we have now."

    Yikes – I guess that 65% approval rating just doesn't matter, then?

    And nevermind the fact that Obama DID beat Huckabee, Romney, and Palin in the last election. They might be offended to learn they are worse than a dog...

    June 2, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Lisa B

    If that is seriously all they've got to offer, Obama (and our country) will enjoy a long and productive eight years.

    June 2, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |

    "teleprompter USA " obviously works for CNN they have posted on this page 4 times and they don't allow this, also they are a IDIOT!

    The people are sick and tired of the Rethuglicans inciting hatred, racism, lies and attacks on their country. We are all in this mess together and I nor anyone with an ounce of sense would wish for any President to fail so that they can get their party back in the forefront. Limp balls actually runs the Rethuglican party because he is the only one they are afraid to speak out against, they would rather allow him to make lunatic accusations that to stand up against him. They are a party of COWARDS and LIARS. The world hates this group of people and they better be glad Barack won because I beleive we would have been attacked by one of these foreign countries if another Retug would have won.

    Obama 2012' Biden?

    June 2, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Joe Terrogano

    Slim pickins (and I don't mean the actor). Even the dimished party is fractured. Just keep alienating people like Colin Powell, that was a master stroke of genius! Other thAn the deep south and pockets of conservatives, there is no real support. Obviously the Bush name has plumited like GM stock.

    June 2, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. PaulMoATX

    Greg Smith, Clifton Heights PAThe Republicans have so many great leaders it is hard to decide who is the best. If Obama is the best the Democrats can offer we the Republicans are a definite winner in 2012.

    Earth to Greg, earth to Greg. Please put down the pipe and pay attention to what's going on in 2009. Thanks.

    June 2, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. katiec

    Isn't this ridiculous?
    If the republicans continue on with their tactics, actions they will not even be around in 2012.

    June 2, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. w.l. jones

    Remember Joe!

    June 2, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Teleprompter of the U.S.A. June 2nd, 2009 3:35 pm ET

    "They might as well add Jeb Bush to this bunch of losers, he couldn't be any worse."

    Not one of them is worse than the loser right now in the White House.

    Well, Ignorant Neo-con of the Right, If he's a loser, what does that say about McLame and Failin Palin whom he beat to become the PRESIDENT? Ignorant maggot, ACCEPT the fact that he is your master and you are his b!tch.

    June 2, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Angie in Pa

    Greg Smith says the Republicans have so many great leaders hahahahah lol hahahah WHO I ASK WHO?

    June 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Matthew

    @ Melissa who said, "Notice that every single person named on that list is an extremist. Not one of them are moderates. Rather frightening."

    You must have forgotten that Obama was deemed, "the most liberal senator in the senate?"

    now all of a sudden obama is a moderate? he's got you drinking the kool aid by the gallon! however, i will applaud obama for taking much of the same issues as President Bush, save a few, on national security issues. its easy to criticize when you're campaigning as opposed when you're in the oval office facing the tough decisions.

    If the economy does not rebound, Romney will win in 2012 against obama, no doubt about it.

    June 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Travis

    I think it's already safe to say this.......FOUR MORE YEARS!!!!!

    June 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Alex in Wisconsin

    I predict that the Republicans will try and hijack Obama's slogan of Change for the next election. Just as one has come to expect from the GOP, no original ideas for the new century. that's why people think they are democrat-lites and/or still living in the past.

    June 2, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Rob

    Whomever it will be, in 2012 he or she will a much welcome relief from the torture that will be Obama's one and only term in office.

    June 2, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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