Romney, Palin, Huckabee Lead Republicans in Poll to Challenge Obama in 2012

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Romney, Palin, Huckabee Lead Republicans in Poll to Challenge Obama in 2012

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — When it comes to which Republican candidate should take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama in 2012, GOP voters are essentially evenly split between three former candidates. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee are within just a few percentage points of one another.

In a new Rasmussen poll released today, the former Massachusetts governor tops all Republican candidates with the backing of 25 percent of GOP voters.

Palin, who recently announced she would resign her position as Alaska’s governor, follows Romney in second place with the backing of 24 percent. Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, received the support of 22 percent of Republicans.

Each of the three campaigned on strong pro-life platform during their presidential or vice-presidential bids and would operate as president in stark contrast to Obama, who has compiled a lengthy pro-abortion record.

After the top three, pro-life former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received the support of 14 percent of Republicans, pro-life Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and pro-life Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty each received the support of one percent, and six percent prefer some other candidate not named in the Rasmussen poll.

The new survey is a case of good news and bad news for Palin.

While she received the second-most level of support for a potential presidential campaign, Republican voters also named her as tied with Barbour for the candidate they would least like to see earn the GOP nomination.

They both received 21 percent for the least-wanted candidate to take on Obama, Gingrich and Pawlenty tie for next on the list, with 15% each, 10 percent don’t want Huckabee, and nine percent don’t want Romney as the nominee.

The survey also found 40 percent of Republican voters believe Palin has hurt her chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 by stepping down as the Alaska governor. Twenty-four percent say the resignation helps her chances, and 28% say it will have no impact on the race.

Seventy-six percent of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of Palin, even after her decision to resign as governor of Alaska, with 45% whose view of her is very favorable. Palin trails Huckabee, who is favored by 78% of GOP voters, with 41% who feel very favorably toward him.

Twenty-one percent have an unfavorable view of Palin, with nine percent (9%) very unfavorable. For Huckabee, unfavorables are 17%, including five percent (5%) very unfavorable.

Romney follows closely after Huckabee and Palin in the Rasmussen poll. Seventy-three percent view him favorably, including 39% very favorable. Nineteen percent have an unfavorable opinion of Romney, with five percent very unfavorable.

Sixty-five percent have a favorable view of Gingrich, including 35% very favorable. His unfavorables are 29%, with 11% very unfavorable.
For Pawlenty and Barbour, a big factor is their lack of national exposure. In the case of both men, 28% of GOP voters don’t know enough about them to express an opinion.

However, 38% have a favorable view of Pawlenty, with eight percent (8%) who say that opinion is very favorable. His 33% unfavorables include nine percent (9%) very unfavorable.

Barbour is the only one of six potential GOP candidates for whom voters have more negative feelings than positive.

Rasmussen also found that Republicans are confident that Obama is beatable come 2012.

Seventy-five percent of GOP voters nationwide say it is at least somewhat likely that a Republican candidate will defeat President Obama if he seeks reelection. Of that group, 41% say it’s very likely Obama will be defeated.

Eleven percent of Republican voters are totally undecided on their presidential preference at this early date, the Rasmussen poll indicated.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.