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Political Insiders Poll: Who is Most Likely to Capture the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination? Political Insiders Poll: Who is Most Likely to Capture the 2012 GOP Pr...

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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll: Who is Most Likely to Capture the 2012 GOP Presidential Nomination?

Rating the White House hopefuls.

Rank the top five candidates, 1 through 5, in terms of who you think is most likely to capture the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Republicans (103 votes)

Candidate and Rank: 1. Mitt Romney
Index Score: 88


Candidate and Rank: 2. Tim Pawlenty
Index Score: 76

Candidate and Rank: 3. Jon Huntsman
Index Score: 35

Candidate and Rank: 4. Rick Perry
Index Score: 26


Candidate and Rank: 5. Michele Bachmann
Index Score: 13

Candidate and Rank: 5. Sarah Palin
Index Score: 13

Candidate and Rank: 7. Newt Gingrich
Index Score: 12

Candidate and Rank: 8. Chris Christie
Index Score: 11


Candidate and Rank: 9. Herman Cain
Index Score: 7

Candidate and Rank: 10. Rudy Giuliani
Index Score: 4


Mitt Romney

“Based on GOP history: The guy closest last time gets the nomination this time.”

“We seem unable to get beyond putting the front-runner at the head of the ticket, even if the candidate is as weak as this one is—simply amazing.”

“A very well thought-out opening to his campaign that will benefit him down the road.”

“Campaigns from the front porch while rivals can’t get in gear. Last six months have gone better than he could have hoped.”

“Daniels’s departure moves Mitt closer to [GOP] establishment support. Why have so many Romney 2008 backers defected this time?”

“GOP primary voters have a precedent for handing the nomination to the guy who has been waiting the longest. Romney fills that bill but won’t win the general.”

“Has a political and fundraising machine unmatched by any other candidate.”

“I wish there were five top candidates. Alas, it’s really a choice between Mitt and Tim. Thank heavens we have a Senate takeover to get excited about.”

“It’s his to lose at this point with his financial and organizational advantages, but health care remains a dark cloud over him.”

“Race is Mitt Romney’s to lose, and Team Romney is highly capable of losing it.”

“Looking a lot like John Kerry. He got nominated.”


Tim Pawlenty

“The most conservative candidate who could get elected: Sooner or later, Republicans will see it, and he’ll win the nod.”

“Because I don’t see Romney getting it done. Pawlenty doesn’t have to be flashy. He has to be himself: a capable, conservative Midwestern governor.”

“The default ‘conservative-who-can-win’ alternative to Romney. But which state gives him an early victory?”

“Needs Romney to implode and then must grab the space left vacant, but he has to survive long enough to see if that happens.”

“This pathetic party will nominate the person who is the least objectionable, which is Pawlenty unless someone steps into the breach.”

“Quietly hanging around and building a good team.”

“The fight to watch is who becomes the ‘not-Romney’ candidate—either a mainstream candidate, T-paw, or fringe candidate, Bachmann.”

“He is the least unacceptable candidate—a good choice to lose respectably to Obama.”


Jon Huntsman

“Unless our party nominates someone whose tone is civil and respectful, we have no chance in a general election.”

“With fewer and fewer mainstream alternatives to Romney, his odds of filling that slot rise.”

“In the mini-primary within a primary, he’s behind T-paw organizationally, but his ability to self-fund may give him longer legs.”

“Will be the national media darling but will ultimately go nowhere fast.”


Rick Perry

“He brings all the positives of Sarah Palin and none of the negatives.”

“Too bad GWB was governor of Texas.”

“If he got in, he’d immediately coalesce the tea party energy and be a major force.”

“Perry has emerged as the newest noncandidate to stir the hearts of those uninspired by Romney and Pawlenty.”


Michele Bachmann

“If she catches fire in Iowa, survives South Carolina, and hangs around, she is going to be both formidable and a player for years to come.”

“Her foster-parenting story and lack of family embarrassment makes her a competitor for the Christian vote.”

“ ‘Crazy’ sells in primaries, and she has plenty to put up for sale.”


This article appears in the June 4, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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