WASHINGTON – A new CNN poll shows former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani narrowly leading the field of Republican presidential contenders for 2012.
Giuliani won 16 percent of the 473 Republicans surveyed, one point ahead of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who had 15. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin received 13 percent and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) had 12 percent.
Even though Giuliani’s lead over the following three hopefuls was within the poll’s 4.5 percent margin of error, his numbers were a remarkably strong showing for someone who has barely been mentioned as a contender, and who has made no public indication that he may even run.
Giuliani has appeared to be such an unlikely candidate that his name was excluded from virtually all major 2012 GOP polls prior to this one. Speculation about his intentions began this week after New York Rep. Peter King (R), a close friend of Giuliani’s told reporters during a dinner that the ex-mayor is seriously considering a 2012 bid.
The former mayor, best known outside New York for helming the city during the attacks of September 11, 2001, ran for president in 2008. He led in preliminary polls but his campaign collapsed after a poor showing in early primary states.