The following are individuals who are or have been the subject of speculation in prominent media sources as being possible presidential contenders in the 2012 election. The speculation may stem from noted media analysts and commentators, or from actions or comments made by the individuals themselves — which suggest the possibility of a presidential run — as reported in reliable media sources.
- President Barack Obama is eligible for a second term. Since the 22nd Amendment went into effect for the 1956 election, every incumbent President eligible for re-election has been nominated by his party, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. The most recent credible primary challenge to a sitting Democratic President came from Senator Ted Kennedy against President Jimmy Carter during the 1980 United States presidential election. Responding to speculation that he might run against President Obama in the 2012 Democratic presidential primaries, Congressman Dennis Kucinich stated in August 2010 that he would not do so.
None of the following have formally announced his or her candidacy for the Republican Party nomination. The following individuals are currently speculated about as possible candidates. It is common for popular individuals to wait to announce their candidacies until later in the election cycle.
- Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona
- Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi
- Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton of Maryland
- Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida
- Businessman and radio talk show host Herman Cain of Georgia
- Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey
- Senator John Cornyn of Texas
- Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana 
- Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina
- Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich of Georgia
- Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas
- Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
- Former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico
- Former Governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of Alaska
- Representative Ron Paul of Texas 
- Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota
- Representative Mike Pence of Indiana
- Governor Rick Perry of Texas
- Former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
- Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin
- Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania
- Senator John Thune of South Dakota
- Businessman Donald Trump of New York
No one has formally announced his or her candidacy for the Constitution Party nomination.
- Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York
- Television journalist and commentator Lou Dobbs of New Jersey
- Attorney, consumer advocate, and perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader of Connecticut