New poll shows Republicans favor Palin in 2012

Three familiar names -- Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney -- get the most support in an early look at the GOP presidential primary.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 27, 2009 6:10PM (EST)

CNN is out with a new poll handicapping the race for the 2012 Republican presidential race, and the results are fairly unsurprising. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin leads the pack -- but just barely.

29 percent of respondents said they'd support Palin in a hypothetical primary matchup, but former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was hot on her heels, with 26 percent of respondents picking him. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, another veteran of the 2008 campaign, is in third place with 21 percent, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal brings up the rear with nine percent. (The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.)

Obviously, this poll is very, very early and it will very likely not predict much about how the 2012 race actually shapes up. This sort of survey is largely about name recognition, and of course there are any number of candidates who might get in or drop out and change the whole dynamic. But it does provide an interesting look at where Republican voters are right now in their thinking: Basically, what we're seeing here is the continuation of the trend towards social conservatism.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Bobby Jindal Mike Huckabee Mitt Romney Sarah Palin War Room