Public Policy Polling pitted the top Republicans (including Jeb Bush) against Obama in a hypothetical matchup and found that the former Arkansas Governor’s folksy ways puts him at the top of the pack. And this makes sense. Huckabee is amiable, has some ideas that at least sound new (get rid of the IRS, FAIR tax) and…ummm…did I mention he’s folksy?
Huckabee comes the closest, trailing Obama 48-41. In the six months PPP has run this poll he has been the most competitive Republican every time. Obama’s lead has increased from 47-44 over the former Arkansas Governor a month ago.
Mitt Romney does next best, down 48-39. In some ways he looks like a stronger general candidate than a primary one though. He has the best favorability of the GOP quartet with Democrats and independents, but only 50% of Republicans have a positive opinion of him compared to 70% for Mike Huckabee and 69% for Sarah Palin. Will he be able to connect well enough with the GOP base to snag the nomination?
And here’s how they all break out:
- Obama/Huckabee – 48/41 – Obama +7
- Obama/Romney – 48/39 – Obama +9
- Obama/Bush – 50/37 – Obama +13
- Obama/Palin – 53/38 – Obama + 15
Yes, the thought of Palin scares more people than the thought of another Bush. But both campaigns are DOA. Guaranteed.
To me, the Romney/Huckabee matchup will be the story. Huckabee obviously has the base locked up tight because he’s so overtly religious, but he scares independents. So he’ll have to do a lot of work to reach out to moderates. Still, it won’t be easy. However, even though Romney appeals to fiscal independents, the base doesn’t trust him. Romney’s saving grace? Palin. She could fragment Huckabee’s support just enough to let the more moderate Romney run away with it…much like Edwards did to Clinton so Obama could thread the needle.
Regardless, I’m anxious for 2012. Can you tell? :-)