Shock poll: Huckabee's numbers up since last month?

Just a teaser from PPP, but stunning enough that it’s worth mentioning now.

Maybe Palin will have to think about that third-party run after all.

Our monthly look at the 2012 Presidential race, due out Thursday, will show Huckabee’s favorability at 35/35, pretty much unchanged from 36/37 on our November poll. And not only does it show him once again as the Republican who comes closest to Barack Obama, but it also shows him coming closer to Obama than he has in any of the previous nine monthly polls.

Does that mean he’s getting a free pass on the Washington cop killings by an inmate whose sentence he commuted? Probably not. I’m sure that would be a massive liability if he did get into the 2012 Republican field, and used effectively against him by his opponents. But it’s a good reminder that the vast majority of Americans do not live and die by the 24 hour news cycle. Huckabee’s numbers haven’t changed because more than likely few voters who didn’t already have their minds made up about him are familiar with his connection to last week’s tragedy.

Is that the answer, that news of the Clemmons clemency simply hasn’t trickled down to most voters? Huck mentioned it on his show, and it’s been bantered about enough on conservative talk radio that you’d think there would be a downturn of a few points among Republicans, at least. Palin tweaked him about it on Lars Larson’s show just a few days ago, in fact: “I don’t have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys. I’m on the good guys’ side.” And yet, he’s untouched. Not that it matters terribly, given that his primary opponents will beat him over the head with it, but based on this, his favorables are more resilient than I would have guessed.

Then again, this is PPP we’re talking about. Remember “Hoffman by 19”? Exit question: Er, didn’t Palin tell Rush Limbaugh just a few weeks ago that America’s not ready for a third party?