CNN Poll: GOP 2012 field still up in the air
May 27th, 2011
12:16 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: GOP 2012 field still up in the air

Washington (CNN) - Call it a sign of how unsettled the GOP presidential field remains: Two of the three people at the top of new national poll in the battle for the Republican nomination may not even run for the White House. And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also suggests that there is not a lot of enthusiasm about any of the major candidates.

According to the poll, which was released Friday, 16 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say they would most likely support Rudy Giuliani as their party's nominee. One point behind, at 15 percent is Mitt Romney, with Sarah Palin coming in at 13 percent.

Full results (pdf)

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 GOP White House hopeful, will officially announce his candidacy for president next Thursday. Neither Palin nor Giuliani have taken concrete steps toward a run.

Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has increasingly sent signals that she is interested in running. On Sunday she kicks off a campaign-style bus tour, but she has not publicly worked toward hiring staff or building an organization in any of the early voting states in the primary and caucus calendar.

Giuliani, who was a candidate in the last presidential cycle, is also considering another bid, but an adviser tells CNN that the former New York City mayor is not taking active steps toward getting in the race other than making recent appearances in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary on the road to the White House.

"Giuliani has the top spot in a 12-candidate field, but he doesn't generate a lot of enthusiasm. Only about a quarter of Republicans nationwide said that they would be enthusiastic if Giuliani won the nomination," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But he's not alone - only a quarter would be enthusiastic if Palin got the party's nod, and only one in five would feel the same way if Romney became the GOP's standard bearer in 2012."

Just one point behind Palin in the survey is Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is making his third bid for the presidency. With a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, the poll indicates a crowded field at the top of the horse race.

Former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain is at ten percent, with Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at eight percent, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at seven percent and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at five percent. Everyone else questioned registered at two percent or less.

The survey was conducted May 24 through May 26, after former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, billionaire businessman, real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels all announced they would not make presidential bids.

With Giuliani out of the race, Romney takes in the top spot at 19 percent with Palin close behind at 15 percent. And with Palin and Giuliani out of the running, Romney's share of the vote increases to 21 percent, with Paul at 15 percent.

"Romney, Giuliani and Paul have a reservoir of goodwill among Republican voters, but Gingrich and Palin are more polarizing figures," Holland noted. "More than six in ten Republicans have a positive reaction to the idea of Romney, Giuliani or Paul winning the nomination. But nearly half say they would be displeased or upset if Gingrich won the party's nod in 2012, and more than four in ten Republicans feel the same way about Palin."

The poll indicates six in ten GOPers say they are satisfied with the field of GOP candidates, but only 16 percent say they are very satisfied.

Are they looking for a new hat in the ring?

Maybe, but a majority give a thumbs-down to a presidential bid from either Texas Gov. Rick Perry or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who have both said they are not interested in running for next year's nomination. The survey indicates Republicans are divided on whether they'd like to see New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin run for the nomination. Both Christie and Ryan have also declared they are not making bids for the White House.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll • Mitt Romney • Polls • Republicans • Rudy Giuliani • Sarah Palin
soundoff (96 Responses)
  1. Rosslaw

    The Republican presidential field is from a Democratic perspective a target rich environment. The Republicans can present the candidates at their next "debate" (is the world 6,000 years old or 8,000 years old-you decide!) by having them pile out of one of those little cars Ringling Bros. use for their clowns just to set the right tone.

    May 27, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. BlaqProgress

    Mayor Rudy Ghouliani is even more shifty than Donald Trump. Who goes on tv and tells his wife he wants an divorce instead of being man enough to talk to her in private? Rudy thats who

    May 27, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. DonDillinger

    It's funny.. to me, the dislike of a President.. In all my years of living nobody ever liked any president ever.. !! There was always people who hated the president and people who liked the president in all the years.. So for you people saying "anybody but Obama".. It's nothing new.. (but the reason you say this is new) But what are you basing this on as you have no experience in government matters. By the way, he was voted for.., right?

    The thing is what many of you don't realize, you hold your personal views and would rather a "real" incompitent person be in office besides Obama.. I tell you, if there is "anybody" besides Obama in 2012, it's going to hurt you~ ! I can guarantee that.. The thing you have to think about is WHAT IS OBAMA DOING WRONG? don't say what you heard someone say on the news.. Say what you know from fact.. Don't repeat something you read.. tell me how Obama being elected effected your life.. because I can't feel it.. Him being president has done nothing to my life.. So tell me what has it done to yours?

    Don't cry GAS PRICE, because he can't do anything about it.. You can't force those nations abroad to sell barrels at any price you wish.. That's just like, I can't go into BEST BUY and pay $50 for a 50 inch flat screene ( $1 a inch).. just because I say that price is fair.. Doesn't work that way.. We sure can't rob them and take the oil from the nations abroad.. Just like I can't take that television from BEST BUY..

    I tell you anybody besides Obama then you will feel the President and that president will effect your life, not for the better, but the worse.. Don't go out and vote on an impulse because of some idiotic ideology, because it will hurt you..

    But tell me how Obama has effected your life physically, emotionaly, etc. Tell me?

    May 27, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Russell Kuykendall

    These are there Best and Brightest I would'nt trust this bunch to run A dog Pound!! LMAO

    May 27, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. KatR

    Back in 2004 the Democrats had trouble communicating their governing agenda via candidate Kerry. All he could say was that the GOP was "doing it all wrong". I see similarites in the 2012 GOP lineup. All of them are communicating the the Democrats (especially Obama) are "doing it all wrong". Kerry was defeated by incumbent Bush and any GOP candidate will be defeated by incumbent Obama for the same reasons. A sitting president can only be defeated by a challenger who offers better solutions than those proposed by the current president. In recent memory....that has only happened twice. Carter who faced off against the charisma and ideas of Reagan and the elder Bush who faced off against the charisma and ideas of Clinton.

    May 27, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Debi

    Everyone remembers the game of musical chairs as kids, this is exactly the game the Repubs are playing. The circle is getting larger and we can't forget that the music will continue to play for a time before the last one seated is the winner. I hate to think who will end of on that chair out ALL these "Wantabees"!!!

    May 27, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. liberal christian

    @Sniffit Don't be so surprised. The Republicans have been trying to kill Medicare and Social Security since the Democrats 'rammed them down our throats'.

    May 27, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Republicans - The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    The economy is the big area for improvement in American's lives today. The state of the economy is NOT President Obama's fault so partisan GOP politicians simply hoping this will pulll him down will be sadly disappointed.

    Americans of all stripes ( Democrats, Indies, moderate Republicans) know that the fallacy of "trickle down economics" DOESN'T WORK. We have 30 YEARS worth of proof of that. The national Debt has climbed unabated since before Ronald Reagan and his Voodoo Economics clearly didn't solve the problem.

    Until Republicans give up on the lie that "the Bush tax cuts" are required to boost the economy, thinking people know that they are still without a basic understanding of the fundamentals of capital markets, job creation and balancing a checkbook.

    Former governors who have simply STOLEN JOBS from 1 of the other 49 states don't bring anything to the table that helps. They have ZERO experience that is relevant because as President, you can't lower unemployment by shifting work among states.

    A President can use the leverage of access to the American Marketplace as a means to force companies that want to sell in America to make in America. That COULD create JOBS in America.

    However, the means to motivate these non-US based operations to move here comes in the form of taxes & tarriffs if they don't. Not exactly the approach that the "tax-reduction-happy" GOP demands from it's minions. It also might spark a protectionism backlash that cuts US exports so we need a comprehensive thinker, like President Obama, to be leading the country to create jobs in this way.

    May 27, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. The POTUS is Obama

    America is starting to wake up....after Cantor reply "we will not issue aid to the tornado victims of MO. until there are significant budget cuts in place". The GOP are heartless. American citizens please say no to the GOP establishment.

    May 27, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Russell Kuykendall

    We need to raise tax's on the "BIG CORPS." to 80% and only give them tax breaks when they bring "AMERICAN" jobs back home, If they move over seas ban them from doing "ANY" buis. in the U.S. for 10yrs. Look , the Republicans gave the "RICH AND ULTRA RICH" massave tax cuts over 8yrs. ago to help create "AMERICAN JOBS" well it never created one job *another Republican lie), Im sick of the Republicans say if they raise taxs it will hurt job groyh, "WHAT JOB GROTH" ?? Bring our jobs back. America is watching GOP and you will be held "ACCOUNTABLE" in 2012!!!

    May 27, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Howard

    Even thought the corrupt, biased mainstream media isn't reporting it, the majority of Americans are sick and tired of empty suit Obama's failing policies, and economic disasters ... Palin can beat Obama in 2012 ... that's why the liberals are tripping over themselves to demonize her ... and, when she beats Obama, the liberals will be crying like babies ... America will be restored to her former greatness ... and those of us who truly love America, will have the last laugh !!!

    May 27, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. cv

    Are you kidding me? Rudy Guliani?! I weep for the future of this country....

    May 27, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. bb

    Irrelevant. The GOP doesn't have even ONE candidate that is remotely representative of America current day, and thankfully, none of the field has a chance of winning a national election.

    May 27, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. ADDGUY

    BOTH parties have weak candidates. OBAMA has been little more than a CELEBRITY. PALIN is too CONTROVERSIAL. ROMNEY is too BLAND. It's about 50/50 now but OBAMA gets 51 percent based on the advantage of an INCUMBENT. But things could change if the Republicans come up with a STRONG candidate.

    May 27, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. wes

    Let's see – which demographics do the Republicans not represent? Women, those at or near retirement age, Hispanics, any minority for that matter, the gays, students, those that are tired of reaping the after effects of their red state systematically underfunding education for decades, he sick, those who might be sick in the future (all of us), the 98% of America that are not the ultra rich – and I'm sure there are more.

    May 27, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. bill

    Anyone but obama, 2012.

    May 27, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Big Game James

    Guiliani: Can't control the thief in his own home so why should he be trusted to run a country. Bachman, Palin: HAHAHAHA. Gingrich: will NEVER get the female vote! The others: Just uninspiring. Obama in 2012! Cake walk.

    May 27, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Blackman in America

    GOP continues to search for their "GREAT WHITE HOPE".

    May 27, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. New Hampshirite

    If we get Rudy, all he'll run on is 9/11. While Romney leads the polls in NH, he is ducking his signing Obamacare as Governor of Massachusetts. Palin was so far behind she is a joke. The Tea Party hasn't got a prayer up here either. So please waste money GOP on your lousy candidates, your majority WILL expire next year.

    May 27, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Drew

    CNN has the bestest news!
    I hope the GOP flounders like turds in a toilet.

    May 27, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Rich

    Whoever ends up being the candidate on the GOP side, they will be infinitely better than the incumbent partier-in-chief. Do we really need 4 more years of 9%+ unemployment, businesses closing down and not hiring, inflation and the continual blundering of just about everything that he touches POTUS?

    No, we don't need 4 more years of the same or even, God help us, worse...

    May 27, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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