Thursday, May 14, 2009

FOX News Poll: 2012 is All About Huckabee and Romney

Here are the numbers from the FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll:

Among Republicans:
Huckabee: 20%
Romney: 18%
Gingrich: 14%
Palin: 13%
Sanford: 4%
Jeb Bush: 3%
Jindal: 3%

Among Independents:
Giuliani: 19%
Huckabee: 16%
Romney: 12%
Palin: 10%
Gingrich: 5%
Jindal: 2%
Jeb Bush: 2%
Sanford: 2%

Sure, I could have put Giuliani in that byline at the top as well, but this is the first time he's been polled in the handful of 2012 polls. That isn't anything monumental, but the total lack of chatter around a repeat bid for America's Mayor, to me, is telling. And let's not get started on this Giuliani thing again anyway. It isn't like 2008 turned out well for him. Polling propped up something that wasn't there. We can argue about the merits of Google Trends data all day, but it does show that while Rudy was up in the polls, he wasn't drawing many web searches. Regardless, if he continues to poll like this, the former New York mayor may consider throwing his hat in the ring.

[And yes, the 2012 GOP candidate emergence post with April data is long overdue. I haven't forgotten loyal FHQ readers.]

But what about Huckabee and Romney? And hey, I've gotten this far in to a post on 2012 without mentioning Sarah Palin.

Let's deal with the former first. These are more solid polling numbers for Huckabee. The thing that is striking to me is that the former Arkansas governor is doing so well (relatively speaking -- It is just 16%.) among independents polled by FOX. Giuliani besting him with that particular group isn't a shock, but seeing Huckabee atop the list of remaining prospective GOP candidates for 2012 is still something I need to think some about. This is the guy whose stalking horse in the January RNC chair race, Chip Saltsman, was dubbed, along with fellow southerner, Katon Dawson, a symbol of the Republican Party's inability to stretch its success any further than the South. I thought Huckabee would be there in 2012, but I didn't see support necessarily coming from this direction.

For Romney, it's good but not great news. He's among the top candidates, but not tops. And he's still losing to a guy who was able to beat his money with better organization in Iowa in 2008. The former Massachusetts governor is still within the margin of error of Huckabee with both groups sampled in the poll.

And Sarah Palin? In 2009, three years before the contests begin for the 2012 cycle, the presidential nomination race is all about name recognition, and it says something that the power of the former vice presidential candidate's name has decayed to the point that she is barely garnering double digits in one of these polls. There are a lot of names in this poll, but for someone who was a potential number two, not to mention someone with such a loyal following among conservatives, this is yet further evidence of the Alaska governor's 2009 slide.

Finally, it is nice to see Mark Sanford included in the polling. The South Carolina governor's name has been in the news because of his reaction to the Obama administration's stimulus plan, and has been mentioned in the context of a 2012 run, but he hadn't appeared in any polls as of yet. Also, it is nice of FOX to throw in the Jeb Bush wildcard to test for Bush fatigue. It looks like it is still too soon for another Bush. Yeah, it has only been four months since the last one left office. I think that qualifies as too soon.

Hat tip to GOP12 for the link.

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Robert said...

I think this is good news for Huckabee, not such good news for Romney. I see Huckabee getting some of the Palin vote and others. I don't see how Romney can win without being the clear front runner. He failed the last time when he was the clear front runner and more money than all of the other candidates together. Usually the second-best Republican gets the nomination the next time, but it doesn't look like it will be Romney. I think it is also good news for Gingrich. Sure he doesn't do well with Independents, but the Republicans are looking for a true believer and not someone who will appeal to Independents. Look for Huckabee to start going after Gingrich. Guiliani can't get the conservatives and can't be considered a candidate. The lack of recognition of the rising stars by Independents doesn't matter at this point. It will be Republicans who will be deciding and their recognition among part faithful is what counts at this point. 2012 will be a referendum on Obama.

Josh Putnam said...

It looks like the GOP lost one of it's 2012 possibilities with Obama naming Utah governor, John Huntsman, ambassador to China.

More on that shortly.