Compare those numbers to Messrs. Bush and Christie, and Mr. Huckabee starts looking even more formidable. One-in-five Republicans view Mr. Christie negatively, about half as many Republicans who view him positively. For Mr. Bush, 12% of Republicans express dim views of the former Florida governor, while 44% view him favorably.

(Mr. Paul has solid support, garnering positive reviews from 48% of self-described Republicans and negative reviews from just 6% of those Republicans polled.)

Almost six years after his surprise victory in Iowa, Mr. Huckabee continues to lead his would-be rivals in most of the early polls of Republicans in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Those levels of support are drawing attention to a guy who has been largely out of the spotlight since he first played spoiler in 2008.

“I’m just surprised that his numbers are as strong as they are,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who helps conduct the Journal poll with Republican Bill McInturff. “That tells you something about the Fox viewership.”