CNN Poll: GOP 2012 field still up in the air
May 27th, 2011
12:16 PM ET
11 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. Texas Doc

    If they were at al confident they would have made offical announcements a long time ago. Typical GOP wimps

    May 27, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Rickster

    Close your eyes and throw a dart at the list of republicans....whichever name it hits will be far, far better than the current occupant of the office, President Incompetent.

    May 27, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Bill

    Proof that the GOP voters are as clueless as the GOP candidates about what Americans look for in a presidential candidate.

    May 27, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    Up in the air? More like down the toilet.

    @ TX Doc

    They're waiting to "officially announce" because it changes the campaign fundraising rules once they do. They're qsueezing everything they can out of delaying tiggering those changes.

    May 27, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. ConserFASCISTS

    Giulianni is a joke. Remember how his message was not resonating with Florida voters. He'll face the same problem this time around if he decides to run.

    May 27, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. sue

    It's a waste of money and time for Palin , Giliani ,Bachmann, Pawlenty, and most of the others, the only one I see that is half way able to run the White House is Romney and the GOP conservatives don't want a Morman........The Theme of the GOP is to not let Obama have another 4 years.....well you can kiss that off.......he will diffenately have another term with the canidates that the GOP has running......

    May 27, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Here's an exchange EVERYONE should be aware of:

    McConnell: "To get my vote, for me, it's going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]... Both medium and long-term, entitlements....Medicare will be part of the solution."

    Brian Beutler, TPM: "To clarify, if [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won't get your vote?"

    McConnell: "Correct"


    May 27, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. NVa Native

    Up in the air and getting high on foxygen. I'm sure their twisted perspective is just what we need.

    May 27, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Starting to sink in yet? THE GOP WANTS TO KILL MEDICARE, PERIOD. It's on their to-do list irrespective of whether it is necessary to do so in order to get the budget in line. McConnell said it EXPLICITLY today.

    May 27, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Dave, Central Illinois

    Giuliani all the way. We need a leader with guts in the Whitehouse, not one that takes the credit for other peoples work.

    May 27, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Jake

    lean AWAY from the GOP, people! lean AWAY FROM THE GOP!

    May 27, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Terry Gloege

    Rudy Giuliani !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sarah Palin!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who were they polling anyway????

    May 27, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. MSHMiami

    Please, Sarah....RUN. We lost a brainless megalomaniac candidate when Trump dropped out, and you fit the mold perfectly. We need the comic relief. Seriously, though, I used to think Trump was the biggest delusional egomaniac in America, but between Palin's movie and the revelations in her aide's book about her writing letters to editors praising herself, and then making her staff send them to newspapers under their names, I see now that Trump's ego pails in comparison to Palin's. The only thing bigger than her ego is the incredulity that anyone with a functioning brain cell or two would even consider supporting her for the office of the President of the United States. She MIGHT be able to run a PTA bake sale, but even then the Peter Principle may be at play....

    May 27, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    2008 Obama said Hope and change he couldn’t deliver he also trapped in DC politics

    Past 10 years rest of world advancing fast we seen lot of changes

    We are looking for a leader who can keep up with changes unfortunately GOP candidates going in the opposite direction

    GOP candidates standing on the wrong side when it comes to mid east peace, investments for future job creation, education , health care , immigration

    May 27, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Tony


    The way things are going for Republicans, your dart would hit nothing but air. The air would be a better choice than the current list of Republican candidates.

    May 27, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  16. ConserFASCISTS

    Dave, Central Illinois

    Giuliani all the way. We need a leader with guts in the Whitehouse, not one that takes the credit for other peoples work.
    Taking credit for other peoples work? You can't be serious. You must be referring to how the Bush Administration folks are trying to take credit for killing Osama. Or Mitt Romney trying to take credit for Chrysler being profitable again. Or are you referring to how Boehner is trying to take credit for the job growth over the last 14 months.

    May 27, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    How did Guiliani jump way up like that? Last week this time he was US history. He seems to have forgotten what hurt him back in 2008. Smart voters know that how you run a campaign is a good benchmark for you will run your elected office. Mr. Mayor put all of his marbles into Florida, and had no Plan B. He lost in Florida big time. I guess the New England retirees living in FL outright rejected him as POTUS. He figured they were his base.

    May 27, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. excitizen

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS THAT WERE PROMISED AGAIN AND AGAIN IN NOVEMBER 2010??????? Ohhhh, I get it – they never had any intention of creating jobs, that was just their big lie to get in the they want to do what THEY wanted all along – cut, slash and burn...without intelligent thought as to where and how to do so.

    May 27, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Positive

    Even if I thought one of those candidates were qualified to be President, which I don't, I don't see how anyone could vote for the party who have shown us they are:

    – only interested in the wealthy
    – will enthusiastically repeat all the same deregulation errors of the past
    – have been in office for half a year without putting forth a single jobs idea (but sure are busy trying to get between women and their doctors)
    – have made it clear, given the chance, they will end Medicare. (Do you really think that little voucher is going to help?)

    Is America really foolish enough to fall for this? Will this country not be happy until they've elected enough R's to put all the Medicare and Social Security money in the hands of insurance CEOs and wall street execs? They've made it clear what their priorities are and what they intent to do - don't fall for it!

    May 27, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Up in the air. Going, going, gone.
    So when they say things "from out of left field", you'll know why.

    May 27, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. greyhackles

    So, exactly how is this "Good news for Palin"? Seems like the teaser on the CNN home page should read "Bad news for Republicans"...

    May 27, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Bubba

    They can't win, and they are trying to keep from spitting into two or more Republican parties and failing. There's going to be a Tea Bag Candidate and a Republican Party Candidate, and neither one will be electable. The Bag Party will say that the Repubs should all vote for their candidate and the Repubs will yell at them to get back into line, and afterwards there will be two conservative parties, neither big enough to win. Newt Gingrich's dream of a Contract With America will come true, only the One Party he called for will be the Democrats. Do I think, as a liberal voter, that this is ok? NO. We need both parties in good working order. We need guns AND butter, schools AND jails. We need both wings flapping. I may never see another GOP president in my lifetime, and I'm ok with that after Dubya. But it might not be the best thing for my beloved country . . .

    May 27, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Lolo

    @ Dave, Guiliani has no guts. You saw the man only once stand up for America and that was due to 911. Now that is all he has on his resume to brag about. You like the rest of your comrades need to stop using selective memory to Bash President Obama. Looks like every one is trying to take the credit for Obamas work. Look at your man Romney. Look at the village idiot Palin and sister dummie Bachman. You can believe the satan republicans and tea partiers if you want to, but for myself I think I will vote for the people who are truly for America.

    May 27, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. concerned liberal

    @Jake "lean AWAY from the GOP..."

    Don't stop there – run away form the whole Demo-Publiccan- Repub-licrat club house.
    Vote 2nd party – for real Change this time.

    May 27, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. seriously???

    @Rickster... keep dreaming!! The reason the results of these polls are so up and down every week is because the Republican party has NOBODY!!! ZERO!! Republican's are in a panic who to support because the criteria isn't "Who's the best candidate?" it's "Who might be able to beat Barack Obama?" And the answer to that question as I see it in this field is NOBODY!!

    May 27, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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