By Justin Sink
The numbers are significantly lower than October 2007. Then, 45 percent of respondents named New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a candidate, 30 percent identified Romney, and 27 percent tabbed Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.
Of course, the numbers don't spell doom for the Republican candidates. All three of the most recognizable figures fell to the eventual nominee, John McCainJohn McCainMcCain fundraiser faces felony drug charges in Arizona GOP senator blocks Obama Army nominee over Guantanamo Bill would target retaliation against military sexual assault victims MORE, and even then more than 40 percent of Americans couldn't name a Republican candidate. At the same time, the schedule shuffling at the beginning of the GOP primary process means that candidates have less time to connect with voters before the voting begins.
The GOP contenders do enjoy higher name recognition within their own party. Only a third of Republicans couldn't name any candidate, and both Perry and Romney led with a name recognition of 36 percent.