With Romney In, Is the GOP 2012 Field Strong or Weak?

The GOP 2012 field has been called "weak." Is it?

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As potential 2012 GOP nominees continue to trickle in and out of the race (the presumptive leader of the pack, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, officially announced his candidacy Thursday), and others, like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann, play coy, pundits and journalists call the Republican field weak. U.S. News blogger Brad Bannon suggests that when Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels bowed out, GOP leaders started “taking a look at the scrubs and pine jockeys,” he writes. “The GOP has gone from its A Team to the party’s C List.” [See a slide show of GOP 2012 contenders.]

But U.S. News blogger Peter Roff thinks such talk is a “sophisticated form of voter suppression” to discourage potential GOP or independent voters from going to the polls to vote against President Obama. Even inside-the-beltway GOP leaders, he writes, are speaking negatively of the potential candidates, who Roff says are Washington outsiders. And for Democrats, this is a strategy “to make Obama look better by comparison,” he writes, “which is really the only way he can win in November 2012.” [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP contenders.]

A Real Clear Politics average of polls from April and May picked Romney as GOP voters' favorite with 17.4 percent, though he is having trouble shaking his healthcare ghosts. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee placed second with 16.6 percent, though he bowed out of the race last month. Rounding out the top five are former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump, and Palin, though Trump says he is not running, and neither Giuliani nor Palin have announced one way or the other. [Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?]

As the nebulous primary race starts to take shape, what do you think? Is the GOP 2012 field weak? Take the poll and post your thoughts below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

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