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GOP Primary Voters Like Palin Best, With Romney, Huckabee Close Behind

They’re the leading contenders for now for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and, perhaps not surprisingly, they’re the best liked of 14 top party players among likely GOP primary voters.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of those voters finds that 82% have a favorable opinion of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2008, while just 17% view her unfavorably. That includes 50% with a Very Favorable opinion and eight percent (8%) with a Very Unfavorable one.  (To see survey questions wording, click here)

Seventy-nine percent (79%) have favorable views of both Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, and ex-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Seventeen percent (17%) hold an unfavorable opinion of the two men who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

For Huckabee, that includes Very Favorables of 43%, while 37% have a Very Favorable impression of Romney. Their Very Unfavorables are in low single-digits.

It’s a dead heat between Romney, Huckabee and Palin when likely primary voters are asked who they would vote for if their primary were held today.

By contrast, in July 2009, Palin was second only to Romney as the presidential candidate Republican voters said they’d vote for in 2012 state primaries, but, along with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, she also was one of two candidates they least hoped would win the party’s nomination.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Republican Primary Voters was conducted on October November 1, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. 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.

Who are the political newcomers who’ve jumped high on the list of favorites for GOP primary voters? Who are the White House hopefuls who have higher unknowns than favorables? Become a Platinum member and find out. 

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