Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2012 field still crowded at top

Public Policy Polling finds a close race in its new poll of a 2012 primary.

1. Mike Huckabee 18%

2. Mitt Romney 17%

3. Sarah Palin 16%

4. Newt Gingrich 14%

5. Ron Paul 9%

6. Tim Pawlenty 5%

7. Mitch Daniels 4%

8. Haley Barbour 1%

PPP also poll the race with and without Palin and Huckabee, since it's far from certain either or both will run.

2012 race WITHOUT Huckabee:

1. Mitt Romney 20%

2. Sarah Palin 19%

3. Newt Gingrich 18%

4. Ron Paul 12%

5. Tim Pawlenty 6%

6. Mitch Daniels 5%

7. Haley Barbour 4%

8. Jon Huntsman 2%

2012 race WITHOUT Palin:

1. Mike Huckabee 22%

2. Newt Gingrich 20%

3. Mitt Romney 18%

4. Ron Paul 9%

5. Tim Pawlenty 7%

6. Mitch Daniels 4%

7. Haley Barbour 3%

8. Jon Huntsman 2%

2012 race WITHOUT Huckabee and Palin:

1. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich 24%

3. Ron Paul 12%

4. Tim Pawlenty 6%

5. Haley Barbour and Rick Santorum 5%

7. Mitch Daniels 4%

8. Jon Huntsman 2%

Favorability Ratings:

a. Sarah Palin 61%/26% for +35%.

b. Mike Huckabee 56%/22% for +34%.

c. Mitt Romney 51%/29% for +22%.

d. Newt Gingrich 50%/32% for +18%.

e. Tim Pawlenty 26%/19% for + 7%.

Notes: Pretty cool that PPP polled the various permutations of the race.

Pay special attention to the one without Huckabee. Even though reports say he's "literally 50/50" on a run, most don't expect him to get in.

Here are two, key take-aways from pollster Tom Jensen:

-It doesn't make much difference to Mitt Romney at this point whether Mike Huckabee runs or not but he should want Sarah Palin in the mix.

That splits the very conservative vote at least two ways between Gingrich and Palin or even three ways between Gingrich, Palin, and Huckabee. Romney's not going to pick up any support if Palin doesn't run, it will just allow conservatives to get more unified around one of his other opponents.

-Newt Gingrich's prospects will be helped by any permutation of Palin and Huckabee not running.

If neither of them run he goes from 4th place at 14% to a tie for first at 24%. If just Palin doesn't run he goes to 2nd place at 20%. If just Huckabee doesn't run he gets to 18%. In any event his prospects look better without those folks in the mix.