The conservative blogosphere's Pauline Kael moment?

When Glenn Reynolds linked Allahpundit's post about Mike Huckabee doing better against Barack Obama than any Republican candidate, I was shocked. But here's what the quoted poll said:

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.

That's downright wacky.

Who, and where are all these people who apparently prefer Mike Huckabee to Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney?

I don't know, but I found myself reassured by the latest poll at Right Wing News. Huckabee comes in last:

12) Mike Huckabee: 0% (0 votes)
11) Ron Paul: 1% (1 votes)
10) Newt Gingrich: 3% (2 votes)
9) Haley Barbour: 3% (2 votes)
8) Rick Perry: 4% (3 votes)
7) John Thune: 7% (5 votes)
6) Jeb Bush: 7% (5 votes)
5) Tim Pawlenty: 9% (6 votes)
4) Mitch Daniels: 10% (7 votes)
3) Mitt Romney: 12% (8 votes)
2) Mike Pence: 14% (10 votes)
1) Sarah Palin: 29% (20 votes)
With zero votes, you could say that Huckabee doesn't come in at all, but anyway, there he is. No lower bottom is possible.

OTOH, this may reflect smug Kaelian thinking on my part. ("I don't know anyone who is for Huckabee!" being analogous to Kael's apocryphal "I don't know anyone who voted for Nixon!") Except I am hardly alone. Zero means zero. Is the entire right-of-center blogosphere that out of touch with public opinion as a whole?

I don't know what might be going on, but the contrast is just too huge for comfort.

Is it possible that something is wrong with the polling?

Putting my inner Pauline Kael aside, all I know is that were I Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee would be the guy I'd most want to run against.

posted by Eric on 01.25.10 at 06:59 PM


Mark Steyn on Rush Limbaugh's show today pointed out that liberals aren't so quick to scrape off their Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers than their Obama stickers, because liberalism is always easier to defend *in theory*.

Instead of being delusional about it, I recognize it: I really like Sarah Palin, but *in theory*. I like what she stands for, but I have no evidence that she could survive a national contest. Being hindered by McCain's staff means she might fare better at the top of the ticket -- *in theory*. Huckabee is less exciting, but has at least been tested by the primary process already. That could be why Huckabee may seem safer to some, thinking they need to support the "safer" candidate. Don't forget, an awful lot of Republicans had to vote for McCain for him to be the nominee last time.

Carson Fire   ·  January 25, 2010 6:59 PM

Hmmmmm, now that's interesting.
I would say that that the more you know about Huckabee the less you'll like him and he probably has decent name recognition but not many people know he's a socialist with Christian trappings.

Polls this far out are pretty useless, where was Obama in presidential polls in 2006?
Heck, where was he in late 2007?

I'm not surprised about Sarah Palin.
Nobody I know personally thinks she's anything but an idiot. My family and co-workers and neighbors are mostly leftists, but even the relatively conservative ones think Tina Fey was being accurate.
She has a lot of ground to make up in order to get elected.

The fact that Mitt Romney and Huckabee are always talked about as "leading candidates" scares the crap out of me.
The GOP still doesn't get it.
We want fiscal conservatives, not people who want to spend a little less than the Dems on most of the same stuff.

Veeshir   ·  January 25, 2010 9:34 PM

Except for Palin and Paul, conservatives (and others who tend to vote for Republicans) don't seem to have any kind of unprompted attachment to any of those candidates. When the GOP runs people the party likes more than its voters do, they lose pretty closely (Dole, McCain, second-run Bush I), or, against truly terrible D candidates, win very closely (first-run Bush I, Bush II), essentially by accident.

Obama has about 40% of voters deeply attached to him. That's his zero. He'd win, without even really running, against everyone on that list except Palin, whose zero is similar. (Paul, though loved, isn't loved by many.) But Palin's not going to run, not against Obama. He's the only person she could lose to.

The rest of that list (all interchangeable, electorally) can only win if Obama screws up so badly, in such an undeniable way, that it's a surprise he even runs again, and his voters lose their identification with him. I don't think that's likely. He's their imaginary friend and imagined self, not a guy with a job he's bad at.

guy on internet   ·  January 26, 2010 10:20 AM

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