Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com's 2012 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet

Mitt
Romney

Romney's 2009 to-do list: Slip sedative in Jindal's water bottle before national debut? Check. Transfer frequent flier miles to Sanford for Argentina trip? Done. Tweet that Huntsman speaks Mandarin Chinese? Yep. Mastermind Palin's bizarre resignation as Governor? You betcha! Can any sane pundit make an argument that Mitt Romney is not the clear front runner for the 2012 nomination? He's still getting tasty mojo from activists and party leaders who appreciated his team-first response to losing to McCain and he's refilling his cash and goodwill bank accounts in hopes he can better defend the Flipper jokes. His favorability rating has spiked up 10 points since bowing out after Super Tuesday, according to Pew Research. Nothing stinky about that.

2 Mike
Huckabee

A PD source very close to Huckabee whispers that Huck is "absolutely" running again. With all due respect to our source, well duh. His everyman likability and quippy, witty debate skills should once again be a tool in finding early traction on the track. Not to mention the FoxNews gig, which is great for capturing the dozens of people huddled around their televisions watching cable news on Saturdays and Sundays. But charm and an audience may not be his biggest assets. What are the chances he disappears to Argentina and has to return home to admit an affair with a gorgeous South American beauty? Zippo. If that doesn't give you (and Argentinian women) scream-for-your-momma nightmares, nothing will.

3 Sarah
Palin

The deaths have been overwhelming. Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, the political careers of Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin. When will it end? Even since the resignation announcement, polls say Palin remains very popular with the grassroots. But as we learned in 2008, winning the adoration of the grassroots isn’t enough to secure a nomination. If it were, Ron Paul would have caught the confetti in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. If Palin decides to run in 2012, expect the likes of Romney and Huckabee to gut her like a fish over her experience. It’s tough to make the experience argument against your opponents in 2008 and then quit 30 months into your first term as governor before you’ve even knocked out your first box of letterhead. Nevertheless, don't underestimate the woman who can draw and quarter David Letterman during Willowgate and isn’t afraid to use words like “bull crap” in interviews.

4 Haley
Barbour
Most Americans know Barbour for his quick and strong response to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina as governor of Mississippi. Few Americans know Barbour was accused of personally profiting from the Katrina effort. Most Americans heard that Barbour has replaced the disgraced Mark Sanford as the chair of the Republican Governors Association. Few Americans know that Barbour co-founded the second most powerful lobby firm in the nation, and that said firm has been paid millions of dollars from the tobacco industry. Anonymity has its advantages.
5 Bobby
Jindal
A host of conservatives once touted Bobby Jindal as a conservative that is bright, young and exciting. That was all BS: Before Speech. Jindal’s GOP response to Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address was about as exciting as an ABC Obamacare infomercial. It was only one performance, but in the world of politics, first impressions can be lasting impressions, which does not bode well for Jindal. Yeah yeah, we know, Billy “Comeback Kid” Clinton bounced back from a universally panned convention speech in 1988. Bobby, with all due respect, you’re no Billy.

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