Your Current GOP 2012 Frontrunner: Mike Huckabee?
As improbable as it might seem, at the moment, Mike Huckabee is the frontrunner in the race for the 2012 GOP nomination:
Mike Huckabee is in a position most politicians would die for.
In the latest Gallup Poll released Friday, he’s the Republican leader, ahead of 16 other presidential prospects. Regardless of what’s being polled, who’s doing the polling or how the question is asked, among Republicans Huckabee typically finishes on top.
Who is best liked? Mike Huckabee.
Whom do Fox News viewers favor? Mike Huckabee.
Who does the South want to be president? Mike Huckabee.
Poll the early primary states, and the former Arkansas governor is winning. Match up any of the 2012 contenders with President Barack Obama, and Huckabee usually runs strongest.
For a potential candidate who doesn’t do a whole lot of actual campaigning — and who most insiders believe will not run for the White House — Huckabee occupies a surprisingly dominant position.
“Huckabee’s the only one of the top Republicans who has the combination of electability and base appeal it’s going to take to beat Barack Obama,” wrote Tom Jensen of the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling in January. “A lot will change over the course of 2011, but at least based on the information we have so far, Huckabee looks like the GOP’s best bet.”
Now, to be fair, the Gallup poll that Politico refers to in this article shows the same thing that most other recent polls have shown. Namely, a Republican race with Huckabee, Romney, Palin and Gingrich knotted at the top and Romney and Huckabee usually within no more than 4 or 5 percentage points. In fact, Gallup says there really isn’t a front runner:
There is no clear front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination, which is a departure from what it has been in years prior to a presidential election. Huckabee may be the closest thing to a front-runner at this point, but he has yet to hold a statistically significant lead in any survey. But his candidacy, as well as that of Sarah Palin, is far from assured.
Romney would apparently benefit more from Huckabee’s sitting out the race than from Palin’s doing so, and he would move to the front of the field (though not by a statistically significant margin) if neither Huckabee nor Palin runs.
All of this underscores the current wide-open nature of the race, which could eventually find some structure in the coming months as the potential candidates make official decisions about entering the race, begin to campaign in earnest, and face each other in a series of scheduled debates starting in May.
Despite this, though, it’s consistently been the case the Huckabee is the only prospective Republican candidate, outside of that mythical candidate the “Generic Republican,” who beats President Obama in head-to-head poling. And, he has the political connections in Iowa and throughout the South that would make a second campaign far easier than the first. However, there’s just one thing; nobody seems to know if he wants to run this time.
The question of whether Huckabee would actually enter the race has been up in the air for months now. Many have speculated that he was enjoying his time at Fox News Channel far too much to give it up for another two years of fundraising and stump speeches, and he’s certainly given plenty of signals that could be interpreted as a reluctance to enter the race. Nonetheless, in his most recent comments, to Kevin McCullough, he said “I am very much still considering a run for the White House.” So, don’t count Huckabee out just yet, especially as the evidence continues to mount that, if he ran, he’d be in a very good position to win.