Despite the amped-up rhetoric and nearly non-stop coverage, Election Day 2012 is still a long way off. There’s still plenty of time for candidates to build their base of support and for a darkhorse to emerge in the Republican field to surprise everyone. That said, the stark reality for former Utah governor and recently-departed Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman shown in one new Iowa poll suggests he’d better get on the stick if he wants to play in the first contest of the presidential cycle.
Between May 27-30, Public Policy Polling (D) surveyed 481 Republican voters in Iowa, and only one respondent said Huntsman’s his guy. Just one.
PPP’s Tom Jensen posted details on the one Iowan he could find who thinks Hunstman would make a good nominee.
He’s a self-described “somewhat conservative” and says he’s not a tea partier. He’s middle aged and “lives in the northeastern part of the state.”
He “doesn’t approve or disapprove” of Obama’s job performance and he voted for the president in 2008. Here’s how his 2012 general election vote shakes out so far:
[H]e would vote for Romney over Obama, but he would vote for Obama if the GOP nominee was Palin or Cain. He’s undecided about match ups between Obama and Gingrich or Pawlenty.
As for the rest of the potential Iowa caucus field, Jensen’s mystery man has not formed an opinion about many of the GOP candidates — including national frontrunner Mitt Romney — and has a negative view of many others.
Like Romney, Hunstman’s not expected to spend much time on Iowa. The state’s evangelical conservative GOP base is not thought to take kindly to either Romney’s nor Huntsman’s Mormon faith, and Hunstman’s relatively moderate views on gay rights and climate change make him a potentially better fit for the more fiscally-minded primary voters in New Hampshire.
Also, Hunstman’s a new face on the field, having literally been on the other side of the world for most of Obama’s first term. So his name recognition isn’t anywhere near the level of say Romney or Sarah Palin or others. But even with those factors taken into account, PPP’s Iowa poll suggests Huntsman really hasn’t caught on among many in the GOP base, despite his media blitz of the past several weeks.
But on the brightside, at least he knows he’s got one.