(Newsroom America) -- A new Gallup survey found that three potential Republican hopefuls are emerging as the top contenders for the party's 2012 presidential nomination.
Leading the pack are former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as being in the best shape to challenge President Barack Obama, in terms of name recognition and Gallup Positive Intensity Scores, the survey said.
Obama announced Monday he would seek reelection next year. He's not expected to be challenged for the nomination by any other Democrats.
The survey measured the percentage of Republicans with a strongly favorable opinion of potential candidates, minus the percentage of strongly unfavorable opinions from respondents who said they have heard of each candidate.
Other potential GOP hopefuls were as well known but generated less enthusiasm from respondents. Those included former Alaska govenor Sarah Palin, who was Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.
Among candidates not as well known, political activist and talk-show host Herman Cain, Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty rate high among respondents.
No Republican has yet to formally declare their candidacy, although Bachmann said last week she was considering a run.
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