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Huckabee, Romney lead Republican pack in early polls

In the latest poll released by Rasmussen Reports yesterday, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney stand out front over other candidates including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty.

Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Republican voters nationwide say former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is their pick to represent the GOP in the 2012 Presidential campaign. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 24% prefer former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney while 18% would cast their vote for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 14% of the vote while Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gets 4%. Six percent (6%) of GOP voters prefer some other candidate while 7% remain undecided.

These numbers reflect an improvement for Huckabee since July when the three candidates were virtually even. Huckabee's gain appears to be Palin's loss as Romney's support has barely changed.

Rasmussen followed up that report this morning with another that has Huckabee leading Romney 44% to 39% in a head-to-head matchup.

Normally, polls released this early border on the ridiculous. After all, four years ago, initial polling had Rudy Giuliani in front. But I believe the early numbers have considerable merit in this upcoming race for the Republican nomination for a variety of reasons. First of all, the race has already begun. Huckabee landed himself the gig on FNC for the express purpose of getting his face into American living rooms. Romney, Palin and Gingrich have also scrambled for exposure in an effort to remain in the minds of the voters. All four of these candidates have at least modest conservative credentials, something that will be very necessary following the McCain fiasco. Finally, all four have already established rather substantial cores of support. I really think the next Republican nominee will be one of these four candidates. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Huckabee: His strengths include his affable personality and extraordinary debating skills. He has a very strong core of support among Christian and social conservatives, but that is a huge vulnerability if a candidate such as SC Senator Jim DeMint were to enter the race. Huckabee's downfall could be his insistence on trying to appeal to everyone. While overcoming the obscurity factor, his TV show on Fox, in my opinion, has not helped him because Republicans are now well aware that watered-down conservatism will not defeat Barack Obama. Huckabee also needs to reconcile with Rush Limbaugh and cannot try to go around him as he did last year.

Romney: His credentials as a proven and effective fiscal conservative will be a tremendous asset during the fourth year of this recession. There also exist a large number of Republicans who wish they had voted for him, given the way things turned out. The "likeability" factor that hurt him so badly in 2008 may actually work to his benefit this time around. He was fairly nasty toward Huckabee and McCain, but the panic and despair caused by this President may cause Republicans to seek out a candidate who can bring a fierce fight to Barack Obama. Romney too will have to woo Rush who has publicly stated he supports Sarah Palin.

Palin: She is clearly the most conservative candidate in the field. If the nomination process were solely about issues, she would win in a landslide. Of course, given the absolute necessity that Obama be defeated, the electability factor will be a huge hurdle for Sarah Palin. While she was surely an asset for the McCain campaign, the stigma of having lost that election will be difficult to overcome. She does have strong backing from many in the new media and will be a huge asset for her as she tries to shed some of the "baggage" she accumulated from 2008. Her lack of experience should not be a factor unless Gingrich becomes a chief opponent.

Gingrich: His strength lies with having previously orchestrated a successful voter revolt against an upopular President and Congress. But Newt combines the flakiness of Huckabee, the unlikeabillity of Romney and the polarization of Palin. I just don't see him winning the nomination.

Obviously we will see other entries into the race, but I'm not sure anyone else is going to be able to make significant inroads. DeMint could be a very interesting candidate should he choose to run. But moderates such as Pawlenty, Crist and Jindal will never be able to gain traction given what McCain did to the Republican Party.


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Comments (28)

If either of these guys had... (Below threshold)

If either of these guys had been picked We would not be in this terrific economy now. Even though I know it is all Bush's fault.

Other than Palin, it's a Ri... (Below threshold)
Dr Carlo Lombardi:

Other than Palin, it's a Rino-palooza!

Be interesting to see who c... (Below threshold)

Be interesting to see who comes out on top.

I agree. Palin is not the ... (Below threshold)

I agree. Palin is not the "most" conservative, but the ONLY conservative in the bunch. And the repubs have no clue what middle America wants. Look at NY-20. The GOP is running a freakin' socialist, for God's sake. I'd rather have Olympia Snowe than Scozafava, or whatever her name is.

Wheres Ron Paul in this pol... (Below threshold)

Wheres Ron Paul in this polling?

Sheesh. Whatta bunch to cho... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Sheesh. Whatta bunch to choose from. All a bunch of has-beens from the same ole same old, except Palin.

The Huckster is the worst of the group; he's an out and out Lefty when it comes to redistributing wealth, taxes and govt interference in our lives. For some reason, just because he is one of the more annoying Bible-thumpers he is considered 'conservative'.

I'd like to like Palin. I want to like Palin. I'm standing on the sidelines, eager to jump on the bandwagon....
But before I do I'd like to know more about her politics, abilities and philosophy. I don't know much about her except through the hyped-up hit pieces that attacked her since the first week she was the VP candidate.

I would like to see more writing from her; books, position papers, speeches about current events, etc..
I'd like her to have more experience before becoming Prez; even though she had more relevant experience than Hillary (and either of them had more experience than Barack).

I think she'd be a good VP.

Romney is the only one in t... (Below threshold)
Victory is Ours:

Romney is the only one in the current pack with a chance of winning, and if Palin is on any ticket it's a sure loss.

Still, about the only conclusion I can draw from this poll is that it is unlikely that Huckabee will be the eventual nominee. It seems like the early front runner never finishes in first place.


Eh, the next GOP candidate ... (Below threshold)

Eh, the next GOP candidate isn't on this list.

They haven't been uncovered yet. There's a lot of time here and there better be someone else. The list you give here is uninspiring to say the least

I found it interesting that... (Below threshold)

I found it interesting that this article says Mitt Romney was "nasty" to Mike Huckabee and John McCain...was I watching the same primary campaign? Huck took every opportunity to slam Mitt's religion (in a very understated and underhanded way), Huck slammed Romney repeatedly for actually having a job and running a company! Isn't that the typical liberal mantra? And let's not forget the tag team effort by the two of them (McCain and Huck) in West Virginia. Mike Huckabee is one of the most cut throat, vindictive phonies in politics. He has some ethics problems as well -wouldn't the democrats love for him to be the candidate. I want someone with real world experience, the fact that he made money in his lifetime shouldn't be a bad thing (as Huck would have us believe). I hope that people will research their candidate and make an intelligent choice rather than one based solely on religious philosophy. We aren't voting for a Pastor in Chief!

Unfortunately, there are ma... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately, there are many biased evangelicals out there who would never consider Romney, who is by far the most qualified. Huck is likable enough but he is too liberal on finances and too uneducated on most issues. Palin would hurt any ticket. Same with Gingrich. I am a big fan of Jim DeMint. People really need to look at this guy. If he doesn't back Romney again he'll be a good addition to the pool. Pawlenty and Crist seem alright but they couldn't beat the Obama machine.

Huckabee is liked in a narr... (Below threshold)
ParisParamus Author Profile Page:

Huckabee is liked in a narrow band of Christian conservatives; I think he would lose huge v. Obama. Romney has a shot, maybe; I want him teamed with a Palin (VP) ASSUMING she continues the "policy gym" workout she started earlier this year with Facebook, and kicks it up several notches over the next two years. As far as I can tell, Romney+Palin (under that scenario) would excite the largest # of voters (right over to independent, over to "Reagan Republicans") and turn off the fewest number (yes, Palin will be hated by the MSM and most Democrats, but that's life).

From the perspective of a chunk of people, Romney, who is Mr. Smart But Dull will give Palin a gloss of Smarter (I don't think she needs that, but many disagree); and Palin will give Romney firmer conservative credentials, and a gloss of excitement. Then again, after "exciting" Obama, dull may be a plus...

out of the four listed, Pal... (Below threshold)

out of the four listed, Palin is the only one who will get myself, or my more liberal wife, out of the house and into the streets to support, let alone vote for.

if you can come up with another candidate besides her, that isn't a RINO, or a religious nutter like Jindal, let us know. i'd be happy to see that person and Palin duke it out, but the east coast old boys club really needs to STFU. i'm full up on voting for people who forget what it is they are supposed to stand for once they get in office.

i don't care about religion. i don't care about gay marriage. abortion is a lousy solution to a complicated problem, but what is worse? you abort the fetus now, or you have an unwanted child, which will, like as not, be a burden on society for most of their existence. also, as a 20 year veteran, i think "don't ask, don't tell" is stupid. it is *not* the place of any level of government to legislate morality, and the Republican party needs to stop trying to do so.

i'm tired of having all the good things we supposedly believe in, like balanced budgets, national defense, etc... be sacrificed because these "moral" issues drown out the more important things to be worried about.

i do care about ridiculous budgets full of pork. i want our borders protected, and the illegals sent home. i want the terrorists and the nation states that support them afraid to even breathe deep.

i want our allies to trust us, the neutrals to respect us, and our enemies to fear us, but i couldn't care less if anyone loves us. countries don't have friends, they have interests, and its long past time we start looking out for ours.

"Romney: His credentials as... (Below threshold)
The Exposer:

"Romney: His credentials as a proven and effective fiscal conservative will be a tremendous asset during the fourth year of this recession."

Slick Willard? A fiscal conservative? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! A Socialist fraud and proud daddy of Massachusetts own budget-busting DeathCare. If the Republicans want to nominate the White version of Zero, look no further. Did I mention he killed the MA GOP, too? How 'bout appointing killer-releasing liberals to the bench? Proudly and publicly declared he opposed Reagan for President... while running as a Republican. He makes Mike Dukakis look respectable.

Put up that creepy used-car salesman phony or Huckster, his equally-phony illegal-lovin', tax-hiking, GOP party-killing, Southern RINO cousin, and the only thing Zero has to worry about in '12 is what Communists he can openly appoint to his Cabinet and SCOTUS during his second term.

"Wheres Ron Paul in thi... (Below threshold)

"Wheres Ron Paul in this polling?"

Where was he in any polling during the campaign?
With the exception of the online polls after debates - that were overpopulated with his nutty minions - he was, and will be nowhere.

Mitt Romney is the conserva... (Below threshold)
The Exposer of the Exposer:

Mitt Romney is the conservative candidate of choice. He's brilliant, a very hard worker, is able to present himself in a presidential manner and is a solid conservative. I like the way he ran in Mass and won against a dem. Gotta be good to do that. Everything Mitt touches turns to gold. I think he learned from this last campaign how to run. Now lets all watch him get it done this time.

Mitt 2012

#15: i can't fix them all, ... (Below threshold)

#15: i can't fix them all, but here's one correction:

"Everything Mitt touches turns to fool's gold."

he can't win the hard core right, he can't win the pragmatical right, and there is no reason for the squishy right, as well as the center or squishy left to vote for him.....since they can just elect an out and out Dem.

other than that, he's a great candidate.

for the Donkeys.

Huckabee is a slimeball. H... (Below threshold)

Huckabee is a slimeball. His comment during the campaign that Romney "was a Christian, as far as I know" was completely unforgivable to me (and I'm not religious). I hope Mitch Daniels runs. He has shown himself to be an excellent chief executive,

Fred Thompson/Sarah Palin <... (Below threshold)

Fred Thompson/Sarah Palin

Matters not who is top of ticket.

We seriously need some new ... (Below threshold)

We seriously need some new choices here. These are a bunch of has beens who already lost once with the exception of Palin.

Sarah Palin could win or at least do well in the next election, but not for the GOP. She needs to run as an independant and chastise both the Republicans and the Dims as part of her campaign.

She already has a devoted following, I wonder if a Palin/Paul campaign could win or if they would turn out like their initials?

Other than that, what I want to see is a strong third party emerge and kick both parties out of the white house for a couple of terms. I think this is the best chance the libertarians have for years to come and I hate to see it wasted.

I'm tired of being disappointed in republicans or angry at democrats. Please put up a true conservative or at LEAST someone likeable. I mean, if Arnold were allowed to run at least he would be cool even if he was a RINO.

Schwarzenegger 2012!

"Schwarzenegger 2012!"... (Below threshold)

"Schwarzenegger 2012!"

He has the ego for sure. But if were going to go the "rino" way again (god forbid), will be stuck with Hellary next go round.

I am all for Romney taking ... (Below threshold)

I am all for Romney taking this in 2012. We will have runaway inflation in a few years, and I hope someone is in place leading that cares more about us than polls and smart enough to fix this mess. Reagan fortunately cared more about helping us tame inflation than getting elected again in the 80's. Reagan solved a problem that many current presidents never would have tackled. We shold give credit to Reagan for singlehandedly winning the Cold War. Do I believe any Republican is going to beat Obama in 2012? Unfortunately, I don't. I hope Romney will win 2016 if he doesn't get it in 2012.
Do I think Palin or Huckabee are smart enough to fix this mess we're in and our future status as a super power coming into question? Please, do I even need to answer that?

I still like Palin, althoug... (Below threshold)

I still like Palin, although maybe as VP. Romney is clearly qualified, and his competition knew it. McCain, Huckabee, and the liberal media ganged up on him to take him out of the equation, afterwhich we all looked around and wondered how we got stuck with the clowns (McCain and Huckabee) that were left. I'd be happy with Palin and Romney, in either order.

"I am all for Romney taking... (Below threshold)
Robert Nolon:

"I am all for Romney taking this in 2012."

Romney can't be trusted. He is the most liberal of the bunch.

FACT: Mitt Romney Chose Only 9 GOP Judges in 36 Appointments

Mitt Romney in 1994: Contract with America is "Not a good idea"

Romney: I Support Pro-Gay Agenda ENDA Laws

Palin has my vote.... (Below threshold)
Da Mayor:

Palin has my vote.

I'll take 'None of the abov... (Below threshold)

I'll take 'None of the above'.

I like Huckabee for the nom... (Below threshold)

I like Huckabee for the nomination. Poll after poll shows him at the top. Americans see that his core principles are exactly what we need to get this country back to our roots. It is obvious from the Rasmussen polling that he has broad support from all kinds of voters.

Wouldn't pay any attention ... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't pay any attention to these polls or the article. Every time Sarah Palin posts a commentary on Facebook the liberals come out of the woodwork and attack her site. The next day a handful of "negative" Palin articles pop up on the web. Not only is it predictable but boring at the same time.

How about a "Mitt Romney/Ro... (Below threshold)

How about a "Mitt Romney/Ron Paul" ticket? They would make a decent team, Romney with the intelligence on finances and Paul with the solid ideals and unbeaten debates.






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