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. tulsa, ok

    Like Rudy takes credit for singlehandedly saving the USA from terrorists on 9-11?
    You are a gutless victim, like all Republicans.

    May 27, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. i dont care what old people think, kill medicare

    Good one sniffit he just gave us 2012 hahaha

    May 27, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. seriously???

    Giuliani=a total slime ball that won't get through the primary.
    Romney=Republican's best shot but won't win the primary because of the Tea Party.
    Ron Paul=unelectable.
    Pawlenty, Santorum, Cain=good luck with that.

    May 27, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Ed

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry! That would be joke! He makes GW Bush look like a scholar! Perry has been a total goof off as Governor. His main priority this year is making women who have abortions look at a sonogram! He and his GOP Cronies have slashed spending mainly in education, and believe me education is something the majority of Texans need more than anything else! All one has to do is look at the Bozos elected in Texas like Perry and the rest of the state government office holders and realize how important education really is!

    May 27, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    the GOP really has NOTHING to run on and they know this. They were effective with that "birther" stuff and the "he's not one of us " fear tactics but since the president has gone to great movements like having to PROVE he is a US citizen (so far no other POTUS has had to do that) and caught and destroyed bin Laden, despite the righties trying to give Bush credit for it, people are verying away from the old GOP fear mantra. They can NOT run on jobs because they have done little to nothing to help create any and that old line about tax cuts for the wealthy job creators is not working any more. Then of course the Medicare deal. Obama may not have done all he wanted or said he would do in the first 3 years but he is looking a whole lot better than anything the GOP is offering right now and they KNOW this. The only support they have are the ones that dislike the president for whatever reason and will NEVER like him for any reason.

    May 27, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Andy Botwin

    Republicans, meet your leaders!

    May 27, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    You must be talking about Mitt Romney, who is now taking credit for bringing the Auto Industry back from the brink of destruction ... even though he (Romney) was absolutely 100% against the bailout back when the Auto companies were facing bankruptcy. Now that they are solvent again, and are able to pay back (with interest) the funding they received, Romney is pushing around that it was HIS plan which Obama followed. Previously taped interviews of Romney prove otherwise.

    @Sniffit: There's never been a doubt that the GOP wants to kill Medicare ... else why would 300+ GOPers put themselves on record with a YES vote to eliminate Medicare, and why are all the GOPer wannabees being forced to stand by Paul Ryan's Budget? Absolutely it was (and will continue to be) their plan to kill medicare, and I suspect, privatize Social Security. Thankfully, enough Americans WERE paying attention in 2010 to stop the GOPers from taking over the Senate.

    May 27, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Larry

    Rickster thinks the President's name is "Incompetent". Silly guy, it's Obama.

    May 27, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. patNY

    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 |
    Quite possibly the most hysterical post I've read on any blog! All I have to say is Guiliani claimed to have saved us in NY on 9-11 meanwhile, he was hiding in a deli stuffing his face with pastrami sandwiches, and did nothing of the sort!

    May 27, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Kevin

    Dave, Central Illinois: you keep waiting on Fooiuliani to get to the white house. I can tell you it will never happen. As for a strong leader, you must be joking. I bet you never lived in NYC so you don't know the incomptence that is Fooishiuliani. You just keep on loving incomptence that is all your party is full of. Incomptence when it come to idea, and incomptence when it come to candidate. Don't worry though, You have a President in the Black House that will keep the boogey man from getting you. Hahahaha. You love your President for 4 years. and you will be loving your President for the next for year. hahahaah

    May 27, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. maine liberal

    wtf Giuliani ????
    i didnt even know he was running

    the poll actually says 84 percent want someone else

    May 27, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. EddyL

    and just how is this "good news" for Palin?

    May 27, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. reese

    Dr. Pual 2012 or none of the above!

    May 27, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. maine liberal

    all this polling to come to a conclusion : everyone loses to someone not even running

    May 27, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Annie, Atlanta

    Rickster – if you think the current President is incompetent, would you please explain why it is you think so? I'm frankly fascinated by your comment and am anxiously awaiting your thoughts.

    May 27, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Just Me

    I needed a laugh today. Thank you CNN. The GOP field is pathetic. Come on Republicans....Giuliani? Mr. 911? Arent you tired of these recyled has been? Sounds like the GOP and their followers are in utter confusion...and will be just happy to settle on somebody...laughable.

    May 27, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. maine liberal

    Giuliani we now have a name for the Generic candidate

    May 27, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    Jake – I not only am leaning away, but ran full speed away more than a decade ago now. These people are depraved.

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

    All the way is to Obama/ Biden 2013

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

    Republicans have damaged themselves. In their mission to follow-through with the bribe – sorry "campaign" – money from big insurance corporations, republicans have made it clear that they will *END* social security & medicare if elected. 80% of Americans are set-in-stone-opposed to republicans trying to do this, to the point of significant anger.

    May 27, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    I hope Palin and Bachmann both enter - can you picture the cat fight? They can't just say nice things and come out on top. ha ha ha ha haah - I'd even pay to watch that one.

    May 27, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Cynic

    The election is a circus. It doesn't matter who wins because our government will travel down the same path regardless. Give to the rich, rob from the poor. Welcome to the American 21st Century.

    May 27, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. wow

    Obama is the best president in the US. We vote for him. Sarah is incompetant to be a president. Sarah best for u to work with Fox news because there is no place for u in White House. Sarah u failed to administer ur daughtet so please shut up ur mouth and stay in Alaska or Arizona.

    May 27, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are a lot of candidates. The problem with them all is that they don't seem to understand what needs to get done. Many of them don't care what the government does to help the poor. They'd rather see the government spend less, and poor people get further squeezed. Many of the poor who would like to get out of poverty don't have the skills (takes money to learn) and connections (needs money to get to the schools and clubs to make the connections).

    May 27, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Obama is going to raise a bazillion dollars to lie his way back into the Whitehouse. He'll face NO primary challenge (though he should since he has shown himself to be Bush Jr.). People need to shorten their expenditure of funds for the election. There is NOTHING to be gained by jumping out early IMO.

    I would LOVE to see a Romney/Ryan ticket. It would crush Obama by double digits.

    May 27, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
1 2 3 4