(CNN) - With the unofficial start of the 2012 Presidential election less than five weeks away, a new poll indicates that name recognition definitely matters when it comes to early Presidential politics.
According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, 19 percent of Republicans and Independents who lean Republican say they would be most likely to support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the next GOP presidential nomination.
Three points back, and within the survey's sampling error, is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 12 percent. Palin, the party's 2008 vice presidential nominee, and Romney and Huckabee, who were in the national spotlight thanks to their previous bids for the White House, are all apparently well known to Republicans across the country.
Nine percent of people questioned named former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with seven percent choosing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who also made a bid for the presidency in the last race for the White House.
Other possible contenders including Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, all come in the lower single digits.
The results are similar to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national survey conducted in early August, which indicated that 21 percent of Republicans said Romney was their choice, followed by Palin at 18 percent, Gingrich at 15 percent, Huckabee at 14 percent and Paul at 10 percent.
"It's not surprising that today's leading would-be presidential candidates are the ones with established national profiles. Low poll numbers at this early stage of the game usually indicate how much work has to be done to introduce the candidate to voters, but it doesn't necessarily mean a campaign is doomed before it started," says CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon. "Most voters outside of Arkansas had no idea who Bill Clinton was at this point in 1990."
According to the Gallup poll, there's little daylight between conservative Republicans and more moderate liberal party members when it comes to Romney and Palin, with 19 percent of conservatives and 21 percent of moderate-to-liberal Republicans naming Romney as their choice and 16 percent of conservatives and 15 percent of moderate-to-liberal party members choosing Palin. Sixteen percent of conservative Republicans name Huckabee as their choice for the nomination, but that number drops to five percent among moderate-to-liberal party members.
The survey also suggests a geographical divide when it comes to support for many of the potential presidential candidates.
The Gallup poll was conducted September 25-26, with 906 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn