I've already covered the lightweights, so here are the favorites:
Newt Gingrich- He's a familiar face in unfamiliar times. I think he's going to pick up Palin supporters as her support drops. He's very smart and very capable. He will perform well in debates and has a record of fighting democrats. However due to that, he hurts his bi-partisan appeal and people know, if Gingrich is in the White House it will be politics as usual. He will be in the race until the end but ultimately will hope to get a VP spot, which is not that unlikely. Chances of winning: 11%
Tim Pawlenty- Pawlenty has recently become very popular, and people consider him a strong candidate in 2012. He speaks like a fair-minded conservative and comes from an important state in Minnesota, that usually swings democrat. He's going to be a tough out and could rob Palin and Huckabee of votes, but likely will not have enough support to win. He's another who could easily find himself in a VP spot and possibly another run in 2016. Chances of Winning: 15%
Mitt Romney- Easily could be considered the most popular man in the race. It's basically a wash between him and Mike Huckabee. Mitt has performed well in the polls. Mitt's done a little better than Mike at fundraising (a lot better, actually) but lacks the popularity and grassroots support Mike has. Mitt is probably considered the frontrunner right now, but I think he's too generic a candidate to win. He wins if Jindal, Huckabee and Palin perform badly and it falls to him. But if one can take this race by the reigns, he has no chance. Chances of Winning: 25%
Mike Huckabee- He's splitting time atop the 2012 polls with Mitt Romney, but not among the favorables. He's easily the most popular candidate. Right now, it's a toss up to who you would consider the "favorite" in the 2012 race. Although he has popularity and grassroots support (such as Huck's Army), he lacks in fundraising. His TV show has been very good for him, spreading his name among conservatives. His recent hosting of the O Reilly Factor has really helped as well. Right now, I think you have to consider it a "Romney-lean" as to who the frontrunner is for the sole reason that he can raise money. But if you consider that Mike looks very good in the all important Iowa caucus, he could have momentum (and money) swing his way right off the bat. Chances of Winning: 25%
One thing is clear: it's going to be a dog fight in the GOP field in 2012. With many fresh faces and many familiar ones, anyone could come out and win in this field. Although we have 2 men leading the pack now, there are many popular men (and women) in the middle and bottom of the pack who could make some serious noise....and possibly even win.