I’m not in the habit of making pledges, but I promise you this: I will never, ever tire of trolling you guys with numbers showing Huck as some sort of contender for the nomination. Ever.
Fourteen percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP say they would likely support Huckabee for their party’s nomination if he runs.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is next at 13% followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Christie tied at 10%…
That’s a change from November, when Christie was 11 points ahead of the rest of the field. Huckabee was not tested in the November survey…
“Because Huckabee was not included in the November poll, any drop in Christie’s support among Republicans may be partly due to Huckabee as well as recent news stories. So it’s impossible to calculate exactly how much support Christie lost as a result of the bridge controversy. But it’s a pretty safe bet that the drop in Christie’s support against Clinton is due to the recent news stories about the bridge,” added Holland.
Huck siphoning support from Christie? Hmmm. In PPP’s poll last week, it was Ted Cruz whom he was stealing votes from. That made sense, since they’re both targeting social conservatives; in fact, it was among older voters, who trend more socially conservative, that Huckabee excelled in PPP’s data. CNN didn’t post the crosstabs for today’s survey but I think the pollster’s right that Christie’s dive has less to do with Huck than with Bridgegate exploding his advantage over the rest of the field. If you’re a Huck-hater and you’re looking for a silver lining in data like this possibly luring him into the field, here’s the best I can do: If he won Iowa and Rand Paul won New Hampshire, that’s as close as we’ll ever get to a pure libertarian-versus-social-conservatives battle of ideas in the primaries. I think Rand would win, mainly because he’s a lot more acceptable to Huckabee’s base than Huckabee is to his, but either way it sure would be fun to blog.
By the way, both of them get utterly crushed by Hillary in CNN’s hypothetical 2016 match-ups, 57-39 in Paul’s case and 56-39 in Huck’s. The big news from the poll, though, is that Christie’s now in the same boat. He trails 55-39 after having led her 48-46 as recently as December. In theory, that’s not a fatal wound; all he has to do is get past Bridgegate and start rebuilding his numbers to become Mr. Electable again. But how does he get past Bridgegate when Jersey Democrats are resolved to drag it out as long as possible to wound him? And how does he rebuild his numbers with independents and Democrats as we get closer to 2016 without another storm intervening? Lots of righties, me among them, have pointed out that second-term presidents rarely see their approval rating rebound once it’s nosedived like Obama’s has. I suspect the same is true of governors, especially ones who are tied down by scandal. Even if Christie comes back a little, how much would his numbers need to improve to convince center-righties that he’s worth gambling on for electability reasons more than center-right politicians whom they like better, like Scott Walker or Marco Rubio?