by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup Organization
PRINCETON, NJ — Mike Huckabee tops a large list of potential GOP presidential candidates in current support for the party’s 2012 nomination, with 19% of Republicans saying they are most likely to back him. This gives Huckabee a slight edge over Mitt Romney (15%). Sarah Palin is now at 12% after receiving 16% support in three prior Gallup polls. Newt Gingrich is the only other potential candidate who registers double-digit support. Sixteen percent of Republicans currently have no preference.
The March 18-22 poll of more than 1,000 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents was conducted as the field of candidates has yet to emerge. Since Gallup’s February measurement of nomination preferences, Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty have taken formal steps toward announcing their candidacies but have stopped short of doing so. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann is reportedly going to formalize her candidacy by the summer.
There continues to be speculation about the leading candidates’ plans. Most political experts believe Romney will eventually enter the race, but questions remain about whether Huckabee and Palin will want to abandon their lucrative media careers to pursue the presidency.
The poll sought to assess how the race might look if either Huckabee or Palin, or both, ultimately do not run, by asking Republicans to name their second and (in some instances) third choices for the nomination. This information was then used to simulate how the candidates would fare under various scenarios.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.gallup.com/poll/146792/Huckabee-Slight-Edge-Palin-Down-GOP-Preferences.aspx
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