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. thomas, michigan

    'Perhaps', indeed, CNN! It IS too early to bother us with this pathetic
    Republican has- beens stuff. That party should change its name and start from scratch with some brainpower and ideas for today's world,
    not the one these losers dwell in!

    July 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Lynne

    Constant election mode...no wonder nothing ever gets done....

    July 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. cheik

    That any Republican would have a favorable opinion of the twit, Sarah Palin, shows just how low the party has sunk. She is a complete imbecile who is not qualified to be a dog catcher, let alone president.

    July 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. James, Phoenix AZ

    It's like choosing between Curly Howard, Jethro and Paris Hilton as to who is the smartest.

    July 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. guy

    Retreads with not a new idea. Down the drain this country is going

    July 16, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. ConsiderThis, FL

    What a pathetic bunch. One is totally out of touch with reality. One is the most unqualified person in history to run for national office (and will get wealthy as a result), and the other is a one man political carnival. Can you identify who's which?

    July 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. txleadhead

    Doesn't matter. GOP sucks. Democrats suck. Time is ripe for a 3rd Party candidate. Now if only Ron Paul will make the right move?

    July 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Willy Brown

    Anyone of them will be a breath of fresh air in 2012 after Obummer gets voted out!

    July 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Irma in North Carolina

    It doesnt matter how tight the race is among these three, with only 23 percent left for republicans how on earth do they think this will get them in the white house. If Sarah is in the white house she wont be able to stand the heat and she will quit just like she did as governer in alaska. Is this the kind of person you want in white house. She better have a good vp candidate then that he can take over.

    July 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Rich

    This article is what's wrong with the American press. We *just* elected a President and you all are already dying to get back to your IV-drip of Presidential horserace coverage.

    These polls are utterly irrelevant. Let it go and cover some real news.

    July 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. GOP Grammi

    The GOP will never get back in Washington with airhead Palin.

    July 16, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. You lose all credibility when you say Palin is smart

    Democrats can only pray that this stays the same two years down the line.

    July 16, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. David

    Hmmm... They left off Ron Paul. I wonder if the poll even listed him as an option. Looks like I might be voting Libertarian again...

    July 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. beachgirl

    OH I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS WOMAN, still is around!!!!!!

    Race for what???????? Palin doesn't have BRAINS!

    It is unbelievable that there are people that still think she has a chance to be anything other than a mother!

    PALIN is the BIGGEST QUITER in AMERICA!!!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  15. Josh

    just stop already

    July 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. John

    Race to the bottom...

    July 16, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. carlos

    three way race tied with a has been, an incompetent and religious nut.....great field.......and repugnants still consider that woman viable....they all should go back to their shacks in the swamps......utterly incomprehensible

    July 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Geoff

    Yes. It is too early. Anyone remember the great Guiliani/Clinton Debates of '08? Oh right. Early front runners mean nothing.

    July 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. kishen c.rao

    none of these three is worth discussing...ok...they are no good and do not talk any kind of sense.....

    July 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. TimeforChange

    Who in their right mind would want Palin as the leader of the free world.
    She can't speak coherently and there are many other negatives. They seriously want her to lead! Look at what George W. Bush and the real president at the time..Cheney did to our country. Wasn't that scary enough. Look at the mess we are cleaning up from Cheney/Bush, which will take many decades or maybe even a century to fix.

    And the Conservatives want another dipstick like Bush to run our country again! Unbelievable!

    July 16, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. dave f

    So when she gets the nomination in 2012, and then gets destroyed in the general election, will she go away.

    July 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  22. Barbara Bunce

    Excuse me! These three are all loosers, can't the Republicans find anyone that is a viable candidate. They do not represent what a majority of Republican are. Oh what a joke!

    July 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. FactCheck

    Come on you wing-nut Bible thumpers... you have to get Palin on top of that ticket. Not only is it good for Democrats, it's great for late night comedy.

    July 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Dick G

    For heaven's sake, stop it! The election is years away. Can't you find something else for your people to do?

    July 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Geoff

    These are the best three the Republican party can come up with?


    July 16, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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