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
1

Sarah
Palin

For the first time in over year, we have a new horse at the top. Palin-backed candidates have cleaned up in the spring primary season and her appearances at Tea Party rallies generate more buzz and pop than Justin Beiber on a Red Bull binge. The criticism of her resigning as Alaska's governor has faded and she skillfully turned stalkerneighborgate into a positive. Perhaps this quote from her keynote address at the Tea Party Convention earlier this year best sums up her rise to the top of the PD rankings: "How's that hopey-changey stuff workin' out for ya?"

Mitt
Romney

Mitt's fall from the top spot isn't just about Palin, it's also tied to passage of Obama's health care plan. Mitt's own version, RomneyCare(tm), signed, sealed and delivered during his watch in Massachusetts, bears a striking resemblance to the new federal law of the land. While only true political junkies know that now, expect his opponents for the 2012 nod to spend millions educating the rest of us. Ironic that his most significant achievement during his last job could be the one that prevents him from getting the job he really wants.

3 Mike
Huckabee

Yes we know, Huckabee has said he isn't planning on running. But one day he's not running, the next he's asking to be included in favorability polls in Iowa. Somehow he makes Brett Favre look decisive. Still, the fact remains that Huck fared the best among the potential candidates in a June 12 poll that pitted him against Obama and he topped a May 12 Fox News poll as the top GOP candidate in 2012. PD still isn't convinced he'll run, but in the current snapshot, he's our show horse.

Newt
Gingrich
Newt is the guy/girl in college you had a secret crush on. Sure, you've heard rumors about a salacious past and you doubt they're marriage material. But you're willing to look past that because they flirt so well. Admit it, you know it's a long shot, but if you're a conservative, something about Newt sends a thrill up your leg. You love how he thinks, what he says, and how he operates, politically speaking. But Newt's private life makes some shudder, and his personal history won't play well in the conservative heartland. Then again, this country elected Bill Clinton - twice.

Ron
Paul

That is not a misprint, Paulites. Lay down your weapons; your guy is finally ranked for 2012. We still don't see him winning the nomination, but PD and other pundits cannot deny that as one of the inspirations of the Tea Party movement, Paul still carries a lot of clout. He'll surely be visible during his son's campaign for senate, and if Rand wins, the Paul family will have a mini-dynasty in the making and a seat at the Iowa/New Hampshire table… If they want it.

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