Our monthly look at the 2012 Republican Presidential field for November finds the same thing it it does every month- a very close four way race. This time around it's Sarah Palin at 21%, Newt Gingrich at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18%, and Mike Huckabee at 16%. Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty lead the second tier with 5% each, followed by John Thune at 3% and Mitch Daniels at 2%.
More interesting is something a little different we did this month, asking likely primary voters who their second choices would be. Here's what we found:
-If Newt Gingrich doesn't run the biggest beneficiary would be Mike Huckabee. 31% of Gingrich supporters say Huck is their second choice, followed by 27% who say it's Mitt Romney and 19% who say it's Sarah Palin.
-If Mike Huckabee doesn't run the biggest beneficiary would be Sarah Palin. 34% of Huckabee supporters say Palin is the second choice, with Gingrich and Romney well back at 19% and 17% respectively.
-If Sarah Palin doesn't run the biggest beneficiary would be Mike Huckabee. 24% of Palin supporters say he is their second choice, followed by 20% who say Gingrich and 12% who say Romney.
-If Mitt Romney doesn't run the biggest beneficiary, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, would be Sarah Palin. 27% of Romney supporters say she is their second choice, followed by 23% who say Huckabee and 14% who say Gingrich.
It should be noted on all of these numbers that the margin of error is relatively high.
The other interesting finding on this poll is that even voters who currently support one candidate in the GOP field tend to view the other ones favorably as well:
-Huckabee voters give Palin a 64/27 favorability, Gingrich a 53/23 one, and Romney a 59/26 one. That makes the net favorability for the other candidates an average +33.
-Palin voters give Huckabee a 52/19 favorability, Gingrich a 42/38 one, and Romney a 40/35 one. That makes the net favorability for the other candidates an average +14.
-Gingrich voters give Huckabee a 78/11 favorability, Palin a 67/14 one, and Romney a 61/26 one. That makes the net favorability for the other candidates an average +52.
-Romney voters give Huckabee a 46/25 favorability, Palin a 46/36 one, and Gingrich a 41/42 one. That makes the net favorability for the other candidates an average +10.
The Gingrich and Huckabee voters are going to be fine if someone else gets nominated. They're pretty happy with all the other candidates. The Romney folks perhaps are a greater concern for Republicans because some of them might actually vote for Obama if a Gingrich or Palin gets nominated. The Palin folks aren't all that big on the other candidates either- the chances of them voting for Obama seem quite slim but might they sit home or throw some of their votes to a conservative third party candidate if Romney wins the nomination? All of those things will be interesting to watch.
Full results here