For our look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race in Arizona this week we added Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to go along with our usual choices of Mitt Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Mitt Romney. And although we'll certainly need to see polling from more states to confirm a trend, the numbers suggest a Gingrich candidacy could hurt Palin's prospects.
Mitt Romney leads the way with 27% to 19% for Gingrich, 13% for Palin, 12% for Huckabee, and 9% for Paul. When we had polled previously in the neighboring states of New Mexico and Colorado we found Palin in second place behind Romney. But in Arizona Gingrich emerges as the main conservative challenger to Romney, trailing him just 29-26 with those voters. Romney's broader overall lead comes because he's up 25-7 on Gingrich with moderates.
Palin and Gingrich both have a unique appeal to the most partisan of Republican voters, but it may be that they see Gingrich as a more substantive and 'Presidential' candidate. They could end up competing for the same pool of GOP partisans, and if they both run it may prove to be a good thing for Romney. We'll certainly keep an eye on this.
Full results here