Our monthly look at who GOP voters prefer as their 2012 nominee finds that Sarah Palin is the most popular potential Republican hopeful with the base...but that she finishes just fourth when it comes to who they want as their nominee. For the first time Newt Gingrich is the leader in this poll with 23%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 21%, Mitt Romney at 19%, Palin at 17%, and Ron Paul at 7%.
70% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Palin, putting her tops. That's followed by Huckabee at 64%, Gingrich at 63%, and Romney at 59%. But only 24% of the GOP loyalists who like Palin list her as their top choice for the 2012 nomination. Gingrich is ahead even though he's not as popular because 34% with a positive opinion name him as their top choice for the nomination. That figure is 31% for Romney and 28% for Huckabee. There is a significant disconnect between liking Palin and thinking she should be President, and that's one of the biggest things she'll have to overcome if she does end up getting into the race.
Angry white men were credited for making Gingrich Speaker of the House in 1994 and they're propelling him to the lead in this poll. He gets 26% from them with Romney at 20% and Huckabee and Palin both at 17%. Huckabee has the advantage with women at 26% to 19% for Gingrich, 18% for Romney, and 17% for Palin.
The big picture on this poll is the same as it is every month: the leading GOP contenders are closely bunched with no clear frontrunner.
Full results here