GOP ’12 Top Ten: February

Contributed by Shell Suber

Last month I posted my ranking of the “Top Ten” likely GOP presidential candidates. Well, a whole entire month has passed and so here are my new rankings.

Current rank. Name (Last month’s rank) – Comments

1.  Mitt Romney (1)  – Name recognition and money give him frontrunner status, albeit tenuous. A polished candidate and persuasive speaker but his former strength (healthcare) is now seen as a weakness.

2. Mike Huckabee (3) – Well known and generally perceived as a very likable, decent man, which is accurate. But is he presidential enough for voters?

3. Haley Barbour (4) – If you listed ALL the favors owed to ALL the other candidates by Republican leaders throughout the country, Barbour’s list would be longer. The more Republicans hear his plainspoken style, the more they will like. (Disclaimer – He’s a friend.)

4. Sarah Palin (2) – The best known candidate/celebrity in the field but she drops two big spots because of a rough month in the press after poor handling of the Arizona shootings. You must be able to demonstrate better public relations instincts to be a winning candidate. Polls indicate she is weakening among GOP faithful.

5. John Thune (6) – His name continues to be mentioned and more Republicans are learning about him as the weeks pass. He’ll continue to climb this list, I predict.

6. Newt Gingrich (5) – The beloved Republican leader of the 90s still has street cred with the faithful but are voters looking for an old face or a new one?

7. Rick Santorum (7) – Has been on TV more lately.

8. Tim Pawlenty (8) – I still wonder how someone can be on ‘the short list’ for 2 years and not be higher up in voter’s minds.

9. Rudy Giuliani (10) – This month the Mayor formed a committee to assess his chances so he moves up a spot.

10. Bobby Jindal (9) – See Pawlenty. Has a lot on his plate down Louisiana way so he may not get in this time around.

Still out there: Chris Christie, Mitch Daniels.

Off the table: Mike Pence has decided to run for governor of Indiana. Look for him in future cycles.

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