Republican primary voters at this early stage of the game now give billionaire developer Donald Trump the edge over presumptive favorites Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in the race to be the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2012.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters finds Trump with 19% support, just ahead of the former governors, Massachusetts’ Romney at 17% and Arkansas’ Huckabee with 15%. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich are tied for fourth place with nine percent (9%) each, closely followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at eight percent (8%). Rounding out the list are former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (5%) and Mitch Daniels, the current governor of Indiana, at three percent (3%). Five percent (5%) like some other candidate, and 11% are undecided when presented with this list of candidates.
In January, before Trump began making noises about seeking the GOP nomination, Romney led the pack among likely primary voters with 24% support, followed by Palin (19%), Huckabee (17%) and Gingrich (11%).
But polls this early in the process really don’t tell much more than who has the highest name recognition. Washington Examiner political analyst Michael Barone points this out in a new column assessing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s decision not to seek the Republican nomination. “Voters will know far more about the Republican nominee in fall 2012 than they know now about any contender,” he explains.
It’s interesting to note that John McCain never led any national polling on the 2008 GOP nomination until Rasmussen Reports showed him ahead on December 31, 2007.
(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.
The survey of 1,000 Likely GOP Primary Voters was conducted on April 26, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. Likely GOP Primary Voters include both Republicans and unaffiliated voters likely to vote in a GOP Primary. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.