Believe it or not, Sarah Palin is not the preferred 2012 presidential nominee of most Tea Partiers. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich actually rated higher than the former Alaska governor among members of the fiscally conservative group in a recent CNN poll. Support for the three would-be candidates clustered within the poll's 7-point margin of error, meaning they are statistically tied.
But given Palin's superstar status within the movement, it is striking that she isn't ahead of Romney and Gingrich. One Republican consultant chalks it up to the practicality of many Tea Partiers: "They're ultimately looking for solutions beyond the rhetoric," she explains. "There is no doubt Palin engages the base, she amplifies their message. But in the long run, it's going to be who has the best solutions and can sustain a common sense approach to fixing government."
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