2012 Republican Presidential Hopefuls

2012 is fast approaching and Republican hopefuls are emerging. There is only one small problem: The household names poll low in the general population while the unknowns are extremely popular just among registered Republicans. Some have already started presidential exploratory committees while other potential candidates are avoiding the question of whether they plan on running or not. But the question of late has been “who can beat Barack Obama?” Not many, unfortunately. Although Obama’s poll numbers haven’t been superb, he is overall liked by enough of America to make him a tough opponent to beat in 2012.

Chatter about Marco Rubio’s possible candidacy went flat-line today. Speaking in an exclusive interview with ABC news, Rubio confirmed that he will not be running for president in 2012. During the 2010 mid-term, the freshman senator emerged as a hopeful and general favorite among conservatives. But since Rubio is obviously out, someone else needs to take his spot as the favorite. While many names have been thrown around, there are at least two to watch for that can grab the favorite spot and have the best chance of victory for winning the White House in 2012.

Mitt Romney

As the former governor of Massachusetts, Romney is the type of candidate the GOP can be comfortable putting up as their nominee. According to Gallup, Romney polls just behind former Gov. Mike Huckabee on a range of issues. Furthermore, Romney carries the highest percentage of likely to win the 2012 elections, according to Intrade.com . Other Republican hopefuls only carry single digit percentages compared to his 14 percent chance.

While the former governor of Massachusetts has a broad public appeal, one of the key issues in the upcoming debates will be the recently passed health care reform law. Romney’s legacy includes legislation bearing his signature that is receiving heavy criticism. During the campaign for reforming health care, President Obama made the bi-partisan appeal regarding how close his proposed plan was to Romney’s. Sure to be an obstacle for the former governor, a ring of hypocrisy sounds from the Romney campaign recently when he promised waivers from the new law to every state. That one issue could make or break the election for Romney. But another possible candidate will not have that obstacle.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain is a unique possible candidate for 2012, and no one sees him coming. Recently, Cain launched a presidential exploratory committee. Outside of the ring of hardcore conservatives, Cain is largely unknown. However, he has a broad likability factor and brings with him none of the issues that other candidates will have to field on the fly.

The former CEO of Godfather Pizza falls right into the sweet spots of public opinion regarding the next presidential election. Able to dodge any compliance with any and all of the complaints from the public regarding elected officials, Cain has an almost unfair advantage.

Currently a radio host in Atlanta, Cain noted in the Wall Street Journal that Romney was his “No. 1 choice in 2008.” With government expansionism of historical proportions over the past few years, Cain will appeal to the populist opinion of seizing federal power. And, naturally, this opinion falls right into basic principles of conservative Republicans and even moderate independents.

Unfortunately, the population at large seems to be gluttons for punishment, usually overlooking successful private businessmen in favor of life-long politicians. Cain versus Romney would produce an invigorating debate along these guidelines and will bring the biggest challenge to Cain. If they go head to head, will the public still choose a career politician over an American success story? If Cain can keep the focus on Romney’s failure concerning his state’s health care reforms, and his cheap attempts to keep his favorability up, sometimes compromising on values, then Cain will make a formidable opponent to Romney.