In a memo released by Huckabee aides, strategist Bob Wickers collated a number of external polls showing the former governor’s favorability ratings among Republicans at or near the top of all likely candidates.
A nationwide Monmouth University poll in late March and early April put Huckabee’s favorability rating among Republican voters at 53 percent, ahead of Bush (49), Cruz (49), Paul (47), Walker (44), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (42) and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (41).
The advantage was even more pronounced in a Fox News poll from the same period, where Huckabee’s 57 percent favorable rating was 5 percentage points ahead of that of his closest rival, Paul, and 6 points ahead of Bush.
“People don’t vote for somebody they don’t like,” said Hogan Gidley, Huckabee’s senior communications adviser. “That was one of Mitt Romney’s problems in 2012. It takes a lot of money, a lot of energy and a lot of positive stories to make someone be thought of as likable, if they’re not already thought of as likable.”