When asked who they want to take on President Obama next year, Republican primary voters nationwide could not be less clear—the usual top four are in a statistical tie, each with less than 20% of the vote and just as many undecided. Mike Huckabee leads with 18%, followed by Mitt Romney’s 17%, Sarah Palin’s 16%, Newt Gingrich’s 14%, Ron Paul’s 9%, Tim Pawlenty’s 5%, Mitch Daniels’ 4%, and Haley Barbour’s 1%. 15% are undecided or favor someone unnamed. Last month, the candidate order was the same, and the proportions a similar 20-17-15-12-8-4-4.
But the longer these candidates hesitate to jump into the race, the more it appears a few of them may not run at all. Without Huckabee in the field, Romney edges Palin and
Gingrich, 20-19-18, with Paul at 12% and the others further back. In the absence of Palin, Huckabee tops Gingrich and Romney, 22-20-18. With neither Palin nor Huckabee making a bid, Gingrich and Romney tie at 24%, with Paul at 12%. Palin’s voters go more heavily to Gingrich than to Romney.
An interesting poll, for what it is worth, being that it is in the early GOP primary states where candidates will win or lose the nomination – not national polls.
The only question is who will NOT run first?