Mike Huckabee Climbs To Top In GOP 2016 Poll

Huckabee resurgent? A new poll makes the case, but it's far too early to say.

Mike Huckabee

Just about a week ago former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee drew controversy to himself and the GOP with remarks about the Republican Party’s policies on women’s issues in which he said that Democratic policies are based on the premise that women can’t control their libidos:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said that the government shouldn’t help women who can’t control their “libido or their reproductive system” by providing co-pay-free birth control and that Democrats are encouraging women to be “victims of their gender.”

Huckabee made the comments during a speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting on Thursday.

“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be,” Huckabee said.

Huckabee argued that Democrats “think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication.”

Huckabee also argued that his party is not waging a war on women.

“The fact is the Republicans don’t have a war on women, they have a war for women, to empower them to be something other than victims of their gender,” Huckabee said.

The outcry from Huckabee’s remarks was about what you’d expect. While those on the right contended that he was being deliberately misinterpreted, it’s clear from reading what Huckabee actually said and watching the speech that the former Arkansas Governor had indeed inserted his foot in his mouth, particularly in the manner in which he dismissed issues like access to birth control as a matter of a woman’s “libido,” something which seems to indicate that he has no real understanding of how the birth control works.

While Huckabee’s remarks are unlikely to help the GOP among women, though, they do seem to be helping his own political fortunes. That, at least seems to be the logical conclusion given that Huckabee seems to be climbing in polling regarding potential 2016 Presidential nominees:

Uncle Sugar has apparently provided Mike Huckabee with a polling bounce.

The latest survey from Democratic PPP released Wednesday showed the former Arkansas governor surging among Republican voters nationwide in the wake of his head-scratching comment about the female libido

According to the poll, 16 percent of GOP primary voters said they would prefer to see Huckabee as the party’s presidential nominee in 2016, making him the top Republican in the field. Only a month ago, PPP showed Huckabee polling at 11 percent and trailing both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) among GOP voters.


Wednesday’s poll indicated that Republican women weren’t bothered by what he said either. With 16 percent support, Huckabee was the top choice among female GOP voters.

Here’s where all of the potential candidates polled stand:

  • Huckabee — 16%
  • Jeb Bush — 14%
  • Chris Christie — 13%
  • Rand Paul — 11%
  • Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan — 8% each
  • Scott Walker — 6%
  • Bobby Jindal — 5%

To some extent, I think that Huckabee moving up in the polls is a combination of both the fact that he has been in the news recently for saying something that appeals to the GOP’s conservative base and that the previous frontrunner, Chris Christie, has slipped in the polls thanks mostly to the political problems he’s been suffering through in recent weeks in New Jersey. As with most of these early polls, though, I’m not sure it means much of anything else for 2016. Indeed, it’s unclear if Huckabee is even considering running for President. Back during the 2012 cycle, Huckabee was seen as the strongest conservative contender against Mitt Romney and indeed quite often topped Romney in polls of GOP voters in 2011 and earlier. In the end, though, he chose not to run and thus set off a mad scramble on the right for someone who could adequately challenge Romney that ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. Since then, Huckabee has found a home for himself both on Fox News Channel where he continues to host a show that airs each Saturday evening and on the speaking circuit. Whether he’d be willing to give all of that up and run for President after almost eight years of being out of practice on the stump is an open question that Huckabee doesn’t seem to be willing to address at this very moment.

In the end, I tend to doubt that Huckabee will get into the race, mostly for the same reasons he didn’t get in back in 2012. He really seems to like what he’s doing now, and it’s been a long time since he’s been out on the stump circuit that he’d have to hit if he were to run for President again. Furthermore, it’s unclear at this point how much support Huckabee still has among the all important political activists in early states like Iowa and South Carolina. To a large degree, many of those Huckabee supporters migrated over to Rick Santorum in 2012, and many of them are likely now looking at candidates like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. How willing would they be, really, to jump back on board with a candidate who has been out of the Presidential picture since he dropped out of the race in January 2008? Finally, it’s worth noting that Huckabee may not see himself as candidate material anymore. Back during the 2012 campaign, he attempted in some respect to act as a GOP kingmaker of sorts and even ended up hosting his own candidate forum that used a format that actually turned out to be quite more interesting than all the other Republican candidate debates we saw during that cycle. Perhaps that’s how he views himself now. At some point we’ll find out, I suppose, but until then I guess we should add Mike Huckabee to the list of possible, although perhaps not probable, candidates for the GOP nomination in 2016.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Don’t worry…there’s still a chance your boy from Jersey will redeem himself.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Doug, I love you, but you’re analyzing this from a viewpoint of reality and logic. Which I don’t think is too relevant at this point in the circus that POTUS campaigning has turned out to be.

    What will drive the decision whether Huckabee runs for POTUS or not is his ego. The whole conxervative-media-entertainment complex has turned into a process by which people end up running for POTUS even if there is absolutely no rational logic by which they could win. Does it help increase his “brand”? Then he’ll run.

    Grifters gotta grift, and egotistical grifters gotta grift even more.

    That is all.

  3. Pinky says:

    …must…comment on Huck thread…

    …must not comment…about election 33 months away…

    …tension…too great…

  4. Mu says:

    Hillary is already ordering the new curtains for the oval office

  5. ernieyball says:

    @grumpy realist:

    What will drive the decision whether Huckabee runs for POTUS or not is his ego.

    Seven years ago per OTB and Mr. Joyner we find Huck’s ambitions are motivated by SuperNatural forces. Will Huckleberry run again? Only Jesus knows!
    (Who are those Commenters?)

  6. Matt Bernius says:

    +1 @Pinky

  7. Mr. Replica says:

    An evangelical revisionist at the top of a GOP presidential poll?

    This is new and exciti…zzzz.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Modify that to “grifters gotta grift, and those who think that Gawd has giving them Divine Guidance to do so are even quicker to jump in the ring.”

    (Isn’t it wonderful how what Gawd tells these people always magically lines up with their very own innate desires?)

  9. michael reynolds says:

    As a democrat and presumed Hillary supporter I feared Chris Christie. Huckabee? Hah.

  10. Vast Variety says:

    I’m having trouble really seeing any good candidates from either party at this point. I like Cristie’s style but I hate his politics. Clinton is too used up and I’m tired of the White House Dynasty game. Biden is too much of a loose cannon with his mouth and the rest of the current Republican field is too busy wondering what i’m doing in my bedroom and trying to cure me of “the gay.”

  11. john personna says:

    @Vast Variety:

    Brian Schweitzer v John Kasich?

    A governors’ battle might be interesting, and enough outside the beltway for some change.

    Not that I hold that much hope though. You’re right that it looks like a battle of the previously ran.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    As long as I’m in the mood to lay a bet, right now I’m going with a Ryan-Rubio ticket. That must be about 25 to 1?

  13. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? Until there is a poll that shows that the Republicans have a reasonable chance of winning in 2016, then the Republicans should be ignored. The only real question for 2016 is whether that will be the year that the Democras regain control of the House or if it will take a few years more.

    Speculating about irrelevant Republicans is a great example of laziness of pundits and wonks.

  14. al-Ameda says:


    Speculating about irrelevant Republicans is a great example of laziness of pundits

    What so lazy about trying to handicap the 2016 GOP race now?

  15. superdestroyer says:


    Because the Republican candidate in 2016 has zero chance of winning the general election. Nat Silver is probably going to be incredibly bored in 2016 when everyone knows who will be sworn in in January 2017 by the end of February 2016.

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    I call BS on this entire poll. It’s an open-ended poll taken 2.5 years before an election. No one is thinking about 2016 right now except the media. Huckabee has bumped up in the polls (very slightly) because he was in the news. Probably most people don’t even know what he said.

    I mean think about it. 84% of the people picked someone other than Huckabee. That should tell you how meaningless this poll is.

    Polls are manufactured news. Polls with open-ended pluralities taken 2.5 years before an election are complete nonsense. In the run-up to 2012, we were told it was going to be Giuliani, Christi, Santorum, Bachmann, Palin … whoever had the news cycle that week. It was a bunch of baloney then and it’s a bunch of baloney now.

  17. Grewgills says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Susan B Anthony said it best

    The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their own desires.

  18. Anonne says:

    Of course it’s premature, and his numbers would move positively. But unlike some others, Huck has a realistic streak, at least when it comes to the inside politics of his own party and knowing where his bread is buttered.

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: Gee, I don’t know…my mom got “word of knowledge” messages from The LORD all the time and they never contradicted her own worldview.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Surprising that, ain’t it?

    (By the way, that’s what I interpret the commandment against “Taking the Lord’s name in vain.” Not swearing, but using the authority of God for your own purposes, whether it be to bolster your own worldview, or to wham someone over the head as to Why They Should Obey You. Too many people use God as nothing more than an Instant Authority Figure they can pull out of a pocket as a rhetorical clincher.)

  21. gVOR08 says:


    Because the Republican candidate in 2016 has zero chance of winning the general election.

    Even if I accepted your one party rule thesis, the out party is never more than a scandal or crisis away from power. (Wish I recalled who to credit for that line.) That’s why it’s important the Rs not nominate an inanity like Palin or a zealot like Richard Cardinal Santorum. As bad as Romney was, there was at least a chance were he elected that he’d exert some management over the administration and not bomb Iran his first week in office.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Proof that America really is the Land of Opportunity.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:


    As bad as Romney was, there was at least a chance were he elected that he’d exert some management over the administration and not bomb Iran his first week in office.

    Considering who is foreign policy advisers were, I’m not so sure.

  24. Rob in CT says:


    Seriously. That, and various comments he made convinced me he had no idea about foreign policy. He spouted all sorts of egregiously dumb bullshit during the campaign, and was surrounded by loons.

    Look: Mitt Romney was a successful venture capitalist. In that space, I would expect his expertise to shine through. But there is almost no crossover between that and POTUS.

    As for the Huckster… oh noes! I tremble in fear.

    [The thing that scares me is continued GOP control of the House, a reasonable shot at taking Senate control, and all the state-level power they wield. POTUS, not so much]

  25. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s the ultimate appeal to Authority. Nothing more.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Unfortunately true. An example of why generally you need to vote for the party, not the guy. And why I qualified my statement with “a chance”.

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Rob in CT: I don’t even think I’d call him a “successful venture capitalist”, either. “Successful at siphoning money from company pension funds into his own pocket”, yeah. But GROWING actual companies, capturing market share, increasing number of employees? No evidence of that.

    Too many VCs are nothing more than thieves using shell companies and financial engineering to loot money, rather than people taking gambles and risks on developing new technology.

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t even think I’d call him a “successful venture capitalist”

    Correct. VC and private equity are two different animals. Mitt did mostly the latter. ‘Private equity’ is a term that was invented because it sounds nicer than the original name: LBO (leveraged buyouts).

    Too many VCs are nothing more than thieves using shell companies and financial engineering to loot money

    I think that’s more of a description of LBO. But LBO people like Mitt like to masquerade as VC because it has a better image. And Mitt actually did some VC but mostly he did LBO, which is exactly what you said: “financial engineering to loot money.”

  29. Tillman says:

    Huckabee/Palin 2016.

    Two different populations in the Republican party would sh!t themselves over this ticket.

  30. Rob in CT says:

    Correction accepted, you guys. I screwed up my terms. Private Equity is the right one, and I just whiffed on it.

    My overall point was this: you can be very, very good in a narrow area and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing in other areas, even if you’re very smart.

  31. Rob in CT says:

    self-delete (forgot I could edit posts).

  32. superdestroyer says:


    The Repubicans can possibly eke out a narrow win if they have a perfect candidate and the Democratic Party nominee makes several major mistakes. However, given that all of the Republican candidates have major flaws and the Democrats now that all they have to do is not make major mistakes, then the conclusion is that if the same Democratic Party candidates wins the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, then everyone will know who will be the next president.

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Correction accepted, you guys. I screwed up my terms. Private Equity is the right one, and I just whiffed on it.

    In your defense, this is a common problem, and to a great extent this confusion was cultivated deliberately. Link:

    Venture Capitalists Say Romney Is Not One Of Us … When staffers at the National Venture Capital Association see a report that refers to U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s investments as venture capital, they grimace — and then contact the author to explain politely why it’s wrong. … The NVCA says its staffers have reached out to reporters about a dozen times this year to clarify media reports that labeled Romney’s private equity activities as venture capital.

  34. rudderpedals says:

    No discussion of Mitt Romney’s career is complete without the phrase “Vulture Capitalist”

  35. FairTaxNow says:

    Bottom line..Huck would turn out the evangelical/catholic vote like we have never seen before, especially after the abuse they have been given under this administration the turn out will be staggering. So..Huckabee: evangelical/catholic vote-55-60million. Hillary: evangelical/catholic vote- ummm hmmm nada..Election over