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Giuliani surprise leader in Republican poll

Former New York mayor Giuliani speaks during a demonstration against Iran's President Ahmadinejad's appearance at the United Nations in New
Former New York mayor Giuliani speaks during a demonstration against Iran's President Ahmadinejad's appearance at the United Nations in New

By Ros Krasny

BOSTON (Reuters) - Rudy Giuliani came out on top of a new survey of the 2012 Republican presidential primary field, even though the former New York Mayor has not so far jumped into the race.

Many Republican voters quizzed in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released on Friday said they were not very satisfied with the current crop of candidates who will battle for the right to take on President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.

Giuliani, with 16 percent support, narrowly edged former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, currently seen as the party's front-runner because of name recognition and a large campaign warchest, with 15 percent.

Also polling high were former Alaska governor Sarah Palin with 13 percent, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with 12 percent, and pizza magnate Herman Cain at 10 percent. Palin also is not a declared candidate for 2012 so far.

All other announced and potential candidates scored less than 10 percent support in a poll of 473 likely Republican voters conducted May 24-26. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Early this month Giuliani said he had not yet decided on whether to go ahead with a second White House bid.

But Giuliani has made a string of appearances recently, and will speak in the key early voting state of New Hampshire next week at a fundraiser for the state Republican party.

Giuliani projects himself as a tough-on-crime fiscal conservative, and is remembered as the "mayor of 9/11" for his response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York city.

He ran for president in 2008 and was a frontrunner for much of 2007, but withdraw early after poor showings in initial primary states.

Friday's poll showed more Republican voters sensing weakness in their party's contenders than in a survey taken around the same time four years ago.

Some 39 percent said they were "not very satisfied" or "not satisfied at all" with the current choices, against 26 percent making those responses in May 2007.

In the past few weeks former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, and billionaire businessman Donald Trump have all said they would not run for the White House.

Among possible candidates voters would like to see jump into the race, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie garnered the most enthusiasm.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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