Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin Lead 2012 GOP Field in Gallup Poll
Around the State
A poll released Thursday by Gallup finds former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts leading the pack of Republican candidates looking to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012, while former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, who is showing new signs that she may enter the race, is nipping at his heels.
With a depleted field including the likes of former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and billionaire Donald Trump announcing in recent weeks that they will not run, Romney tops the poll with 17 percent. Palin is right behind at 15 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas takes third with 10 percent, followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 9 percent. Former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain, a favorite of the tea party movement, is a surprise fifth place with 8 percent. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota takes sixth with 6 percent, just ahead of a fellow candidate from the North Star State, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, with 5 percent. Three candidates -- former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania -- are tangled up in the bottom, each with 2 percent. The rest of those surveyed back other candidates or are undecided.
With Palin taken out of the equation, Romney’s lead expands in the poll. Romney leads that scenario with 19 percent, while Gingrich and Paul tie for second with 12 percent. Cain remains at 8 percent, while the two candidates from Minnesota are behind him with 7 percent. Huntsman and Johnson jump up to 3 percent each with Palin out of the race, while Santorum continues to lag at 2 percent.
“In the short-term, Romney and Palin seem to have benefited most from several prominent potential Republican candidates' decisions not to run for president,” noted Jeffery M. Jones of Gallup. “Should Palin follow suit and not enter the race, Romney would be the clear front-runner, but arguably the weakest front-runner in any recent Republican nomination campaign. As such, the race remains wide open, which is underscored by the fact that one in five Republicans currently has no preference.”
Gallup released a poll back in April, which showed Huckabee and Trump leading the pack.
The poll of 971 Republicans and independents who lean Republican was taken between May 20-24 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
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