Romney, Palin Top GOP Choices for 2012, Poll Shows

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) AP

Mitt Romney
AP

Republican voters consider former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin their top choices for a 2012 GOP presidential contender, according to a new Gallup Poll

When presented with a field of 12 potential 2012 GOP candidates, 19 percent of those surveyed chose Romney as their top choice, and 16 percent chose Palin. They were followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 12 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 9 percent and Rep. Ron Paul with 7 percent.

In addition to the 12 candidates offered, 1 percent of respondents volunteered New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as their top choice. While the 12 potential candidates included in the survey are all considered possible contenders, it is widely thought that Christie, who is in his first year as governor, would not choose to pursue a 2012 presidential bid.

Gallup previously polled likely Republican voters about their preferred 2012 presidential candidate in February, leaving the question open-ended. Romney and Palin were the most frequently mentioned in that poll as well, though most Republicans (42 percent) said they had no opinion.

Among Democratic voters, 37 percent said they would support Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if she were to challenge President Obama in 2012, according to Gallup. Fifty-two percent said they would support Mr. Obama.

While the president has yet to announce his bid for another term, it is rare for a president to not seek re-election. Clinton has said unequivocally in previous interviews that she has no intention to run for president again, but that hasn't stopped her supporters from hoping. In fact, the first 2012 presidential ad to air on television was in support of Clinton.



Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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