The latest Gallup poll has good news for former Arizona Gov. Mike Huckabee: his numbers are up.
The latest Gallup poll has bad news for former Arizona Gov. Mike Huckabee: her numbers are down (again).
And the conclusion to draw from this is twofold: (1) Huckabee’s recent controversial comments (that he later walked back a bit) joining the birther fraternity on President Barack Obama and his suggestion that if he was elected he’d reinstate “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” have help the upward movement of his polls. (2) Sarah Palin may simply have peaked — an example of a politician who has not worn well in terms of image (perhaps destined to be a very wealthy political media celebrity but not an occupant of the White House).
Mike Huckabee tops a large list of potential GOP presidential candidates in current support for the party’s 2012 nomination, with 19% of Republicans saying they are most likely to back him. This gives Huckabee a slight edge over Mitt Romney (15%). Sarah Palin is now at 12% after receiving 16% support in three prior Gallup polls. Newt Gingrich is the only other potential candidate who registers double-digit support. Sixteen percent of Republicans currently have no preference.
And if Huckabee decided not to run who would the beneficiaries be? Romney and Palin — but Gingrich is coming up strong (another GOPer who is successfully pandering to the base):
Meanwhile, some believe Palin will not run in the end. If that happens who would benefit? Huckabee:
But what if both Pain and Huckabee decide to pass on 2012, preferring to collect their big, fat Fox paychecks? Who benefits then? Romney:
Gallup’s conclusion is that this is a wide open race:
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 would move to the front of the field (though not by a statistically significant margin) if neither Huckabee nor Palin runs.
Which means a GOP free-for-all. Add what MSNBC’s Chuck Todd calls the “cable candy” (fun and provocative to watch but no chance of being actually nominated, let alone elected) Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump and look for a big broo-ha-ha. The problem is that if there is no broo-ha-ha on the Democratic side (read that: Obama facing a SERIOUS challenger from his party’s liberal wing) the GOP could broo-ha-ha itself out of an election victory — even if Obama’s poll numbers are not stellar.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.