Huckabee Leads Obama
Public Policy Polling‘s latest 2012 presidential poll (I know, I know) has Mike Huckabee leading President Obama and Mitt Romney within the margin of error.
Mike Huckabee has a 45-44 advantage over Obama, aided largely by a 44-38 lead with independents. There continues to be no evidence of any negative fallout for Huckabee after murders of police officers committed by an ex-Arkansas inmate whose sentence he had commuted. His 35/29 favorability breakdown is actually slightly better than it was in November before that incident.
Mitt Romney does the next best, trailing Obama 44-42. His favorability is 36/32, and he’s the most popular Republican among independents (41/32). Romney actually matches Huckabee with GOP voters this month and gets over 50%, ending a trend in his numbers that had seemed to spell difficulty for snagging a Republican nomination.
Sarah Palin trails Obama 49-41 largely because she loses 14% of the Republican vote to him, making her the only one of the GOP candidates we tested who Obama could get double digit crossover support against. At the same time Palin continues to be the most well liked potential GOP candidate within her party- at 71% favorability. Her problem appears to be that the Republicans who don’t care for her will go so far as to vote for Obama instead of her.
This was a survey of registered voters with no likely voter screen. Typically, that skews the poll in favor of Democrats since Republicans typically have disproportionately high turnout.
While a poll conducted this far out has little validity — a point even PPP’s Tom Jensen readily concedes — it’s interesting that Huckabee is the most competitive, let alone that he’d have a substantial lead over Obama among independents. That’s consistent with November’s Gallup poll, too.
That Palin loses 14% of Republicans to Obama isn’t terribly shocking, either, in that many of us simply don’t consider her presidential timber.
While I’m still holding out hope that a strong governor or some other fresh candidate presents himself, I agree with Bill McInturff that it’s going to be mighty hard for a newcomer to break loose in 2012.
“I always talk about oxygen in a presidential primary race, with the amount of oxygen being finite, meaning attention and coverage,” McInturff tells Whispers. “If Governor
Palin does run, it is difficult to imagine how a new candidate gets the oxygen needed for a breakout,” he says. “In this way, it accrues to the advantage of already established candidates like Palin, Huckabee, and Romney.”
I still consider the nomination Romney’s to lose and his high favorability among independents would seem to make him the best general election candidate. While I’ve got some significant qualms about him, he’s the clubhouse leader to take over the position that McCain held in 2008 as my least unfavorite.
Illustration by Ed Wexler for USN&WR.