A brief editorial note: Henceforth, official Hot Air style will be to refer to Mike Huckabee as “conservative choice Mike Huckabee.”

“Huckabee/Walker” has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?

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Interestingly, the only man there with a higher net favorable rating among conservative Republicans than Huck is the guy who tried to sell out the right on the Gang of Eight bill, supposedly earning the undying scorn of the GOP base in the process. I told you at the time that Rubio would be forgiven for his sins in due time. How’s that working out?

Overall Huckabee tops the six candidates listed here with a 54 percent favorable rating (versus 23 percent unfavorable), although Rand Paul is right behind him in both categories (52/24) and Rubio actually equals Huck with a net favorable rating of +31 (51/20). Huck and Rand have surprisingly similar profiles given their ideological differences in that each of them appeals to both conservatives and moderates, albeit likely for totally different reasons. Conservatives probably appreciate Huckabee for his social views and Rand for his fiscal libertarianism; moderates presumably like each of them for the opposite reason, that Huckabee’s more willing than most to break from small-government orthodoxy fiscally while Paul’s more willing than most to break from it socially. And ironically, that may be good news for Rubio: Once a few attack ads have cons convinced that Huckabee’s a big-spending centrist and Paul’s a weed-smoking hippie and moderates convinced that Huckabee’s a fire-and-brimstone radical social con while Rand’s actually quite orthodox on gay marriage and abortion, he may be the last man standing.

These numbers are interesting too:

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Huckabee’s the only one of the six candidates tested who’s north of 50 percent in all three age groups, a testament either to his personal charm, his wide public exposure from Fox, or both. On the other end of the spectrum you have Rubio, a guy who’s supposed to hold some sort of appeal to young voters because of his own youth and boyish looks but who’s actually fourth among that group within this field behind Huck, Rand, and Ted Cruz. Instead, it’s senior citizens who rate Rubio off the charts at 75/11. To put that in perspective, none of the other six candidates here managed better than 64 percent favorable in any age group. Nor is this the first time that Rubio’s showed special strength among Republicans aged 65 or over in a poll. I honestly can’t figure that out. It’s Huckabee who’s desperately pandering to seniors lately by vowing to fight and die for Social Security and Medicare if need be. The media, which enjoys stereotyping older conservatives as vestiges of America’s racist past, must be especially mystified that they love, love, love the young Latino candidate who’s touted as the party’s future. I flagged this for a political friend a few weeks ago and he speculated that maybe Rubio’s Horatio Alger story about his family succeeding in America despite starting with nothing has special resonance with an older group that cherishes the idea of American exceptionalism and relishes Rubio’s rhetoric about a new American century. That’s as good a theory as any. I can’t explain it otherwise.

Since we’re on the topic of polls and generation gaps, though, one more semi-related bit of data for you that’s out today:

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That’s from Gallup’s new poll showing support for legalizing gay marriage at a new all-time high of 60 percent nationally. The GOP number is more interesting, though. After years of bouncing around in the mid- to high 20s and never exceeding 30 percent support, Republicans leaped up in the past year to 37 percent in favor. That brings Gallup into line with multiple other polls showing Republican support for SSM around 40 percent; those same polls show support for gay marriage especially strong among younger Republicans. I wonder what’ll happen to Huck’s strength among young adults in Pew’s poll once he digs in against gay marriage on the trail. Maybe nothing; his views on this are well known. Not a mystery what happens to him among young adults in the general election, though.