July 16th, 2009
05:08 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll shows tight race for 2012 GOP nomination

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.threeway.gi.jpg caption=" Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee appear to be locked in a three-way race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination."](CNN) - The Republican presidential primary process doesn't kick off for more than two years, but perhaps it's never too early to take a measure of where a race that's far from starting stands.

It appears to be a three-way race between former White House hopeful Mitt Romney, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee - also an ex-presidential aspirant. Romney stands at 26 percent in the new survey, compared to 21 percent for Palin, and 19 percent for Huckabee.

But the poll, which surveyed 455 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters between July 10-12, carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, meaning all three are essentially locked in a dead heat.

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker and current conservative commentator stands at 14 percent while Tim Pawlenty and Haley Barbour - the governors of Minnesota and Mississippi respectively - are each in low single digits.

The Gallup survey shows similar results to those of a recent CNN poll that also indicated the same three Republicans are locked in hypothetical race for the party's nomination.

But while Romney, Palin, and Huckabee are clustered on top, the survey shows voters hold a much higher favorability rating of the soon-to-be ex-Alaska governor than the other two Republicans. Palin scores a 72 percent approval rating compared with Huckabee's 59 percent and Romeny's 56 percent.

Though Palin, who has firmly remained in the headlines since she was tapped to be the party's vice presidential candidate last August, appears considerably better known than both men: only 7 percent of Republicans have no opinion of her compared to 28 percent who said the same of Romney and 25 percent who lacked a view of Huckabee.

Of course, polls more than two years before an election are far from predictive: A Gallup survey in 2005 showed Hillary Clinton would win the 2008 Democratic nomination over John Kerry while Rudy Giuliani would edge out McCain on the Republican side. President Obama was not included in the poll.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Sarah Palin
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. jayme

    Palin would be the best bet for the party. She has a huge following plus the fact that she has managed a state and has been a mother to all of her kids. These attributes make the qualities to be a CEO or even president of this country. She just has to be very selective with her choice for running mate. Cant wait for 2012.

    July 16, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Steve

    All the Republicans contending for the Presidencial nomination in 2008 were Baptists except Romney and McCain attended a Baptist
    Church in Arizona. In one of the primaries Romney was denied one of the state primariesy in the South when Huckabee or McCain gave their delegates to the other keep Romney from winning).
    The Republican party today belongs to the South and the Baptists (There is only one religion in the South and Black or White composes about 95-100% of the Population).
    Who in 2010 or 2012 elections outside the South are going support Huckabee xcept these Southern States who gave McCain 2/3rds of the vote and I would be that these votes came from White southern Baptists.
    I would bet money that outside the South The Republican party will be dead in 2010 and 2012. You never know but maybe the Southern States will see the handwriting on the wall regarding the Republican Party.

    July 16, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. LMC

    I still fail to see what attracts people to Sarah Palin. She seems so out of touch and uneducated. If she were president it would be another situation of a vice president or adviser making the decisions, as apparently happened in the George W. Bush's administration.

    July 16, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. howie

    Palin is a smart lady, she has my vote. Many democrats dislike her because they know she is a threat to their party. If you don't believe me, just watch the following hate grams.

    July 16, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. dona

    Oh Please, Please let it be Palin!!! I will vote for her in a primary-most definitely! I want to ensure an Obama victory in the general election. Yes, Palin for the Repug. Nominee! Obama 2012!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Malia

    As much as I like Palin and Huckbee, Mitt Romney will kick Obama and his cronies out of the White House in 2012. Mark my words CNN...

    July 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. U.S. Marine Sergeant

    Wow, really? The GOP really doesn't have ANYONE on their team do they? Maybe Ms. California can be her running mate....

    July 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. Obama

    all of those stink haha. I normally vote republican.. but those choices are like all they can do?? There is no underdog somewhere that is better than those three?? Boy do they have problems!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. dblzap

    Pleease let it be Palin!!

    Obama will win in a landfall then

    July 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. M Hunter

    Palin 72% approval rating!!!!!!!! You can't be serious?
    Have they all gone mad?

    July 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Doug

    It simply confounds me as to why Sarah Palin is or may possibly be, even remotely considered as a Presidential nominee by the Republican party now or ever. There are way, way to many reasons to list however, Sarah brings new ones to the table almost on a weekly basis...stay tuned for more!

    July 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Mike

    "When willl they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?"

    July 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. fortydam

    I guess being a Mormon really hurts Mitt. He is a millionaire that's real bright. I thought Huck was bright too, until he challenged the Mormons on their belief in god, putting him in a weird place for me. Comparing either one of these guys to a woman that educated herself to become a sportscaster is really setting the bar low for the GOP. She cannot answer the most basic questions under pressure, how the heck is she going to do it as President.

    July 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Mary Lou Hamm

    these Three Stooges are irrelevant !!!!

    1 Quitter
    1 Loser
    1 Weirdo

    no thanks!


    July 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Me

    If the primary process does not "kick off" for another two years then how is this a "race"? Maybe Palin can read a book between now than then.

    July 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. KG, Twin Cities

    The reason why it 's so close is that many Republicans are looking and hoping for someone better to come along. It's also far, far too soon for the public to begin thinking about the next election. Let us have a break of at least 18 mos. from inauguration day before expecting the public to start considering the next election. If people want to form exploratory committees, let them. It's their time to waste or gain from. But the public needs a break.

    July 16, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. craig simpson

    Put her on her dog team and let her disappear into the bush.

    Simply forget this quiter!

    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Joe C

    CNN – Stop it.... We all know people want Palin to run for Entertainment only. She will never be POTUS too stupid, a whinner, quitter and lair!

    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. justme

    72 %???? what are these people smoking?

    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. JMOmaha

    Lindsey Graham 2012!!!

    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Laverne

    Larry, Curly and Moe!

    July 16, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Stupid Republicans!

    Are you this tupid that you would poll this non-sense at this time? I am trying to keep my job, get affordable health insurance for my family, and keep my home from going into foreclosure. Why can't you support the current administration and use your energy to put an end to this recession? You and your good ole boys put this country in this mess to begin with. I will never vote for you and your backwards thinking. You are stupid and disgusting!

    July 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. skeeve

    God, people who take pools like this and people who publish them should be fired. 455 "republicans" is a bare statistical minimum. Any deviation in the sample and whole data will be pushed over the edge. Where did this republicans came from? What is the regional and time distribution. Somebody REALLY need to hire a decent statistician.

    July 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. JA/TN

    pleasem if thfolk were serious, they would work to fix the current mess, otherwise become true community organizers

    July 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. WHAAA??

    What a line-up!!
    Obama must be shaking...from fear????...not!

    July 16, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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