Debatable, but at least he's not Sarah Palin, which is also too bad, because if she got the nomination it would be a death sentence to the GOP.

The Republican establishment favourite, Mitt Romney, secured a surprise victory over the American right's grassroots choice Sarah Palin at the weekend in an early test of who will challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race.

Romney, the multi-millionaire businessman and former Massachusetts governor, won 24% (439 votes) to Palin's 18% (330 votes) among delegates at the Southern Republican leadership conference, a traditional showcase for presidential hopefuls.

Romney's win came despite his failure to attend the New Orleans conference, opting instead to continue a tour promoting his book, effectively a campaign manifesto, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.

Romney opposes same-sex marriage, signed into law the Massachusetts health care reform law, but says the national health care reform should be repealed. He also supports the Hyde Amendment.