Searching for the Next GOP Frontrunner

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A shift in the 2012 political landscape has taken place as Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced he is jumping into the presidential race while high-profile hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump back down.

Huckabee's and Trump's exits, according to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., "changed the grass roots and what they're looking for."

But a new Gallup poll indicates the change may be slim.

"There is no clear front-runner in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination," said Gallup's Frank Newport in a memo detailing the results.

While Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich emerged as top picks among the GOP base, respondents were less enthusiastic about them than candidates like Huckabee. 

"Romney and Palin are essentially tied," Newport said. "Gingrich does slightly less well even though he and Romney have nearly identical name identification."

"Ron Paul and Bachmann are the only other potential candidates with name recognition above 50 percent," he added. "They are also next in line in terms of Republican nomination support."

So which candidates have the best shot of becoming the GOP frontrunner in the 2012 race for the White House?

Our CBN News panel of experts -- Sr. Political Correspondent David Brody, Bill Schneider, senior fellow at the moderate think-tank Third Way, radio talk show host Kevin McCullough, and the Virginia Tea Party Alliance's Karen Hurd --  discussed that issue on the CBN News Channel's Midday News, May 18.

Other issues addressed by Wednesday's CBN News roundtable:

How much influence will Huckabee have on who is chosen carry on the GOP torch? Also, has Newt Gingrich's candidacy imploded?

Rep. Bachmann has suggested Huckabee's exit may prompt her to throw her hat in the 2012 presidential ring.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hook," she told Fox News on Tuesday. "Our Facebook has been lit up. Our donations are pouring in, and people are saying 'Michele, jump in. We want you to run."

"We had announced earlier that we would be looking at a June entry date for a decision one way or another about this race. Possibly we may move that up," she added.

Which candidates will the Tea Party rally behind for the 2012 race?

CBN News panelists shared some final thoughts on the race for the White House.

*Original broadcast on May 18, 2011.

Related Link:

Gallup Poll

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