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Romney, Christie Neck-and-Neck Among GOP Primary Voters If Some Big Names Don’t Run

In the past few days Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump have both removed their names from consideration for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination. 

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters taken April 26, 2011 shows that Mitt Romney and Chris Christie are nearly dead even for the GOP nomination if top contenders Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump end up not running.

Ex-Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney earns 27% support, while Christie, the current governor of New Jersey, picks up 26% of the vote. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman whose controversial long-term budget plan shook up the spending debate in Washington, runs a distant third with 12%.

Another former governor, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, earns eight percent (8%) of the primary vote, followed by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (4%), Texas Governor Rick Perry (3%), and Jon Huntsman, ex-governor of Utah and just retired U.S. ambassador to China, with two percent (2%). Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate than the ones on this list, and 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)


It’s important to note at this early stage, however, that the contest goes largely to the candidates with the highest name recognition, as Washington Examiner political analyst Michael Barone explains.  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.


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