Published February 11, 2011
The list of potential Republican presidential candidates now ranges from former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney to real estate developer and television personality Donald Trump.
Who among them do voters think would make a good president?
A Fox News poll released Friday asked that simple question.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (55 percent) and Romney (54 percent) alone receive a thumbs-up from at least half of Republican voters. They also garner the most support among voters overall (34 percent and 33 percent respectively).
About four in 10 Republicans think former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (43 percent), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (40 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (39 percent) would make good presidents -- however, less than one in four voters overall thinks so.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he’s not running, yet 29 percent of Republicans say he would be a good president. That trumps Trump at 23 percent.
Trump was one of several possible 2012 candidates who spoke at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. He said he would announce his presidential plans in June.
This early in the election cycle, name recognition plays a large part in the support candidates receive. That may be what boosts Trump over lesser-known potential contenders such as former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty (21 percent support among Republicans), Minn. Rep. Michele Bachmann (16 percent), Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour (16 percent) and former Penn. Sen. Rick Santorum (15 percent).
Meanwhile, the most well-known candidates are also the most likely to be viewed as not good presidential material. Three out of four voters (75 percent) say Trump would not make a good president, including 71 percent of Republicans. Seventy-two percent overall and 56 percent of Republicans say the same about Palin.
Many voters say they have never heard of some of the possible candidates, including Ambassador Jon Huntsman (55 percent “never heard of”) South Dakota Sen. John Thune (53 percent), Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (49 percent), Santorum (46 percent), Pawlenty (45 percent), Barbour (42 percent) and Bachmann (41 percent).
Potential 2012 Head-to-Head Matchups
The poll asked about several hypothetical head-to-head matchups, and President Obama bests each Republican tested.
Romney comes closest to Obama, trailing by 7 points (48-41 percent). Last fall Romney was just 1-point back (41-40 percent, September 2010). A year ago, Obama lead Romney by 12 points (47-35 percent).
The president has an 8-point advantage over Huckabee (49-41 percent), up from a 3-point edge in September (43-40 percent).
Obama has even wider advantages over Palin (56-35 percent), Gingrich (55-35 percent), and Jeb Bush (54-34 percent).
Even as White House staffers depart to work on the 2012 campaign, 53 percent of voters think Obama is still focused on his job as president, rather than turning his attention to his re-election (33 percent).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 911 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9. For the total sample, it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Mike Huckabee is the host of “Huckabee” on Fox News Channel, and Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum are Fox News contributors.