Think I’m wrong that Mitt Romney is the prohibitive Republican front-runner? Well, Gallup agrees with you: “There is no clear front-runner in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.” Their latest poll shows Romney leading Sarah Palin 20 percent to 18 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 11 percent. Ron Paul comes next at 8 percent and Michele Bachmann takes 5 percent. No other candidate breaks 5 percent.
Name recognition is a major driver of the candidates’ support at this point. A few things worth noting: the poll allocated support to Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump supporters’ second choices. It does not test what a Palin-less race would look like (she has not said whether she’s running) and concluded too late to measure any fallout from Gingrich’s “Meet the Press” performance.