Donald Trump tied for second place in latest 2012 GOP poll

Holly Bailey

Should 2012 GOP hopefuls be taking Donald Trump's potential run for the White House more seriously?

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll released Wednesday finds the real estate tycoon turned reality TV star tied for second place with Mike Huckabee in a hypothetical match-up of 2012 GOP presidential contenders.

According to the poll, Trump and Huckabee both garnered 17 percent support among likely GOP primary voters. They trailed Mitt Romney, who topped the poll with 21 percent support, but bested several potential candidates, including Newt Gingrich (11 percent), Sarah Palin (10 percent) and Tim Pawlenty (6 percent).

Yet the most surprising number is Trump's standing with self-described tea party supporters. Among tea party voters, Trump leads the entire 2012 field, with 20 percent support--besting Romney (17 percent), Huckabee (14 percent) and Palin (12 percent).

These numbers come on the heels of a poll released earlier this week that found Trump would seriously eat into Romney's massive lead in New Hampshire. According to Public Policy Polling, Romney polls at 31 percent in the state without Trump--a 16-point lead over Huckabee, his closest competitor. But with Trump in the mix, Romney leads the financier by just six points, 27 percent to 21 percent.

What's behind Trump's sudden surge? Name recognition likely has a lot to do with it, given Trump is far better known nationally than many of his potential GOP rivals.

But as The Ticket reported last week, Trump's 2012 talk has captivated an odd mix of GOP voters, including social conservatives.

(Photo of Trump: Alex Brandon/AP)