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. ProvidencePatriot

    The only GOP candidate who may have a chance is John Huntsman...intelligent and seemingly wanting to work with the Democrats to solve problems. But, ooops, he just drank the Kool-Aid and is now espousing the far-right ideology so he can pass it's "Litmus Test" So, that leaves Romney as probably the nominee. But whoever gets the top spot on the ticket I'm willing to bet the VP spot will be either Palin or Bachman. This is the simplistic way the GOP will solve a complicated they usually do. Remember 2008, "Hillary's not the Democratic nominee so let's get a female up there quick to be our Hillary" Thus, Sarah Palin. "Oh, the country voted in an African-American president...quick let's get a black guy to head the RNC...Hello, Michael, Michael Steele?" Typical...all show and no substance. And, of course, they'll go the benign sexist route with a male at the top of the ticket. Just watch. Obama is playing chess...maybe I'll donate a nice, new checkerboard to the RNC...keep them out of trouble as they figure out the best way to play the game.

    May 27, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Sherri Nolan

    You could pick a loser off the Street to run & they would be better
    than the lst class moron illegally in the White House now.
    1. Not a Natural Born Citizen if you fall for that Fake Birth Certificate you are loony
    2. A Criminal – Current uses TWO S/S #'s belonging to DEAD people
    3. A Closet Muslim systemically seeking to dismantle the United States of America
    He is involved in the biggest coverup ever to happen on this Planet. Nixon got impeached
    for FAR less.
    4. Him & His wife lost their License to Practive Law. FACT.
    Anyone that votes for him is intellectually bankrupt.

    May 27, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. TM

    This is the same gang of clowns from 2008. The only new faces are total jokes. Bachmann says that her biggest hurdle is the fact that she "hasn't been accurate in everything I've said". So, she just admitted that she has blatantly LIED to score political points. Paul has admitted that he doesn't support civil rights laws. And Giuliani has yet to find ANYTHING to say beyond "a noun a verb, and 9/11". Is there ANYONE who believes that any of these people will do anything to make life better for anyone other than the richest 2% of this country?

    May 27, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Stacey, Connecticut

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

    LOL! Please provide an example of "guts." On 9/11 Giuliani walked around Manhattan surveying the destruction like any mayor would have. Did he invest any time in catching Bin Laden? No. Like VP Biden said, "all Giuliani knows is a verb, a noun and 9/11." Guts – what a laugh!

    May 27, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    The Republican candidates are setting up perfectly to debate the isues among them to look at the big picture to defeat the worst President in history, Barack Obama. Good news for Barack Obama after January 20, 2013 you will have more time to golf and go on vacation without having being the President in the way.

    May 27, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. wgf

    As an Independent, I think it's a shame what the GOP has come to; A bunch of ideological half-wit zealots appealing to the educationally challenged with a collection of simplistic lies and slogans.

    May 27, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    Rickster, what a fool-tool you are. The RepubliKlans want a corporate facist dictatorship, the kind where the average life expectancy for 90% of Americans (the poor, formerly middle class) will be 45 years, no healthcare for 90% of Americans , no workers rights, no voting rights, no education rights. If you ain't got money you may as well go die.

    Rickster is paid well by his RepubliKlan masters to post his lies here, he is what is known as a "Useful Idiot".

    May 27, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. weequahic68

    The real question is......which one wants to be the sacrificial lamb

    May 27, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All the GOP need now is Larry, Curlie and Mo.

    May 27, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Ed

    Only in the GOP would getting 13% be a good thing.

    May 27, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Jack

    Unless some unknown, charismatic candidate pops up, the Thugs have got nothing to offer in the way of a serious contender.

    May 27, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. MikeBell

    "Call it a sign of how unsettled the GOP presidential field remains"
    Oh, please ...
    Neither party is settled until the convention when the candidate is nominated. Until then there is mud slinging and berating.
    Just image how unsettled it would be if Obama had apposition within his own political sorority. By the way; who is challenging Obama within his own sorority/party? Surely all of them don't believe he is the perfect choice for 2012. If so, his faction has chosen their King.

    May 27, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Michael

    If we want to talk about "incompetent occupants" of the White House, gwb is at the top of the list...and this gop list just adds more of the same. The republican party just doesn't "get it".

    May 27, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. Herman Cain For President In 2012

    Posted by:
    "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."

    Medicare is already dead. Bill Clinton told you that this week.
    May 27, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |

    May 27, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. DAK

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

    And Rudi does this? Rudy has guts? Pleeease!

    May 27, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Mutt

    The 2012 election is all but a done deal. Its obvious our next President will be Sarah Palin, not only is she conservtive, she is stupid conservtive which bodes well fro her because the majority of voters are stupid conservtive.

    May 27, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. MikeBell

    "Call it a sign of how unsettled the GOP presidential field remains"
    Oh, please ...
    Neither party is settled until the convention when the candidate is nominated. Until then there is mud slinging and berating.
    Just image how unsettled it would be if Obama had opposition within his own political sorority. By the way; who is challenging Obama within his own sorority; aka party? Surely all of them don't believe he is the perfect choice for 2012. If so, his faction has chosen their King.

    May 27, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. here we go again

    The GOP is in some deep do-do, Nobodies electable but Roomney he will have to explain Romneycare and will christians vote for him? The field is so weak i'm thinking about running myself, who wants to be my VP.

    May 27, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. talanhugh

    Sniffit...must be frustrating that you think you found the smoking gun (medicare) and 50% of country still don't care.

    Noone is killing medicare...if it is not restructured, it will be unsustainable (no matter how many working middle class and rich the liberals tax).

    May 27, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Rory

    They should report more on Fred Karger! He sounds amazing! A Republican that would do some actual good for the country. He's socially liberal and fiscally conservative... Check out his website at and spread the word!

    May 27, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. love this country

    Palin is still an idiot!

    May 27, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. vet in texas

    The current picks put the GOP in a tough place, if they pick Romney, then they prove they were more than just against liberals/democrats, but that they were actually racist. Why do I say that, because of Romney care and that he's a mormon. which means that the whole "forcing this down our throats" thing really meant "that blankety-blank is telling us what to do" or "I don't think he has my religious values" means "he's a kenyan/muslim."

    Alot will think I'm just "pulling the race-card" but the hypocracy of picking Romney cuts the deck and deals to the left.

    May 27, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. fletchman

    Must be a moron who said the president is taking creditfor other peoples work. What it boils down to is no matter what good this president does there will always be people who will say he is undeserving. Should he also take credit for the depression/recession left by the last president. If you want to undermine his achievments, take a look at all he has done in the last 2 1/2 years. Twice as much as the last president did in his 8. Typical republican response. Blame the president for all the bad, give them the credit for all the good. I have to give republican a lot of credit though, they have convinced so many morons that they are the best choice. That is awsome! Here is a group that only cares about the rich paying less taxes but they have been able to convince so many people that they actually give a crap! Wanna know how to be a great republican? Dissagree with everything the president says. If he say the sky is blue, say no its olny blue sometimes and morons all over will join you.

    May 27, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. willard

    I hope that jeb bush will be presdient 2012 so he can beat obama cause obama have problems his wrong 5 difffernt
    Green bay packers and miami heat are mocking out of chicago so presdient obama will be fail his presdient 2012

    May 27, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. zivo24

    The GOP just doesn't get it.

    The largest bloc of voters is very quickly becoming INDEPENDENTS. Most of them will never vote for a candidate from EITHER party that they think is too extremist – that goes for Kucinich as much as it goes for Palin, Santorum, Bachmann, etc.

    The GOP can't seem to come up with a candidate who will appeal to anyone but the far right.

    This inability or refusal on the GOP's part to understand that the majority of voters are in the center of the political spectrum and care more about real problems like jobs and debt than they do about divisive wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage and yes, even immigration.

    May 27, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
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