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The latest 2012 poll on Republican contenders from Public Policy Polling is out and it shows some fascinating stats regarding Sarah Palin’s increasing support. The same poll also asked some breakdown questions of secondary support should the respondent’s first choice drop out or not win the nomination.

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Report from PPP:

Our monthly look at the 2012 Republican Presidential field for November finds the same thing it it does every month- a very close four way race. This time around it’s Sarah Palin at 21%, Newt Gingrich at 19%, Mitt Romney at 18%, and Mike Huckabee at 16%. Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty lead the second tier with 5% each, followed by John Thune at 3% and Mitch Daniels at 2%.

More interesting is something a little different we did this month, asking likely primary voters who their second choices would be. Here’s what we found:

-If Newt Gingrich doesn’t run the biggest beneficiary would be Mike Huckabee. 31% of Gingrich supporters say Huck is their second choice, followed by 27% who say it’s Mitt Romney and 19% who say it’s Sarah Palin.

-If Mike Huckabee doesn’t run the biggest beneficiary would be Sarah Palin. 34% of Huckabee supporters say Palin is the second choice, with Gingrich and Romney well back at 19% and 17% respectively.

-If Sarah Palin doesn’t run the biggest beneficiary would be Mike Huckabee. 24% of Palin supporters say he is their second choice, followed by 20% who say Gingrich and 12% who say Romney.

-If Mitt Romney doesn’t run the biggest beneficiary, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, would be Sarah Palin. 27% of Romney supporters say she is their second choice, followed by 23% who say Huckabee and 14% who say Gingrich.

It is surprising to see Sarah Palin rocket to the top of this poll when previously she was tied somewhere around New Gingrich. However, the more fascinating information comes in the last paragraph of the PPP report:

The Gingrich and Huckabee voters are going to be fine if someone else gets nominated. They’re pretty happy with all the other candidates. The Romney folks perhaps are a greater concern for Republicans because some of them might actually vote for Obama if a Gingrich or Palin gets nominated.

I find that somewhat hard to believe that a voter planning to vote for Mitt Romney in 2012 would change their vote to President Obama. Some voters are fickle, granted, but I would think these must be very moderate Republicans (basically liberal) to change their vote and avoid voting for Palin or Gingrich. When it comes down to it, if a voters was motivated enough to vote for Mitt Romney, would they rather sit out then voting for President Obama? Someone with whom they obviously disagree with on many policies?

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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