Huckabee Handily Wins South Carolina Straw Poll

Huckabee Handily Wins South Carolina Straw Poll


Here’s how it shook out, according to CNN:

  1. Huckabee: 23%
  2. Gingrich: 11%
  3. Bachmann: 10%
  4. Romney: 8%
  5. Pawlenty: 7%
  6. Trump: 7%
  7. The rest (Haley Barbour, John Bolton, Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum): 34%

The usual caveats apply…straw polls are usually just a popularity contest, it’s very early still and this is just one county in SoCa.

Still, it’s interesting to see that Huckabee has so much support, while Palin doesn’t. And once again…Bachmann shows up over Romney. Interesting…

My bet is Huckabee will wait on running until 2016. I think most GOP hopefuls feel that Obama’s campaign machine is just too big to beat and that folks like Palin, Romney and Gingrich will suck the air out of the room.

Your thoughts?

  • gerryf

    Poltical and NBC have postponed the first Republican presidential primary debate—which had been scheduled to take place May 2nd at the Ronald Reagan library—due to a lack of serious candidates.

    Lack. Of. Serious. Candidates.


    They may have to wait until 2016….

  • sootsme

    Interesting disparity in Herman Cain’s results from prior straw polls. And the beat goes on…

  • kranky kritter

    1. Palin’s not going to run.
    2. Neither will Trump.
    3. Even a monkey knows that SC favors ultracons in instances like this.
    4. Pawlenty, Romney, and Huckabee are serious candidates if they run.
    5. Is anyone really sure what Newt Gingrich thinks he’s actually doing.

    **6. I call it a mistake to draw conclusions about candidates from the debate thing, predictable jollymaking from gerry notwithstanding. I bet it has mostly to do with evolving modern campaign strategies. Let’s face it, an early debate with 4, 5, 6, 7 faces has far more potential to be a place where you ruin your chances than where you gain prominence. Whether we like it or not, campaigns appear to be evolving towards publicity opportunities that they can control much better. I look for candidates to avoid events like this until the pot starts really cooking, and people are beginning to pay more attention. Official declarations and real ramp-ups are likely to come in summer.

  • gerryf

    Romney: Obamacare is the worst thing in the history of public policy even though it almost exactly mirrors the plan I enacted….

    Huckabee: We need a fence between the US and Mexico to keep Pakistanis out, and that darn Obama hates American because he grew up in Kenya…oh yeah, and Natalie Portman is a slut….

    Pawlenty: I will do for the US what I did for Minnesota: namely kick the can down the road with endless budget gimmicks, take a bunch of one time grants from the federal government to hide it, shift the funancial burden for supplying services from the state to local governments and thus bankrupting the local bodies (and those are the things said by the conservatives).

    Yeah, serious candidates all.

    Just a little predictable jollymaking with some oh so uncomfortable facts to combat the predictable conservative “douchiness” from our resident right wing krank.

  • kranky kritter

    Pawlenty, Romney, and Huckabee are serious candidates if they run. Because they could win. Obviously, I meant “serious” in the sense of legitimately viable, compared to the folks I identified as illegitimate for various reasons. Most primates with medium sized brains probablt got that first time round.

    None of the candidates Gerry went out of his way to disparage has a particularly good chance of getting my vote, though I am keeping a slightly open mind about Pawlenty. At this point, Obama still has my vote.

    No one here is surprised when Gerry musters a small set of “least favorable light” instances to make any conservative candidate sound illegitimate. Being an independent, I’m not the least bit uncomfortable with Gerry’s selected facts. You go, girl!

  • kranky kritter

    By the way, I could not agree more wholeheartedly that Romney has a sizable credibility gap on criticizing Obamacare due to his support for mass health, I don’t see any way he can finesse that. He was for it before he was against it, just like John Kerry. So he’s totally full of shit on that count.

    But if he wins the GOP nom, he’ll definitely give Obama a run for his money. He’s something of a slithery Clintonesque political character (without comparable charm). But then Clinton proved that Americans don’t mind this so much.

    Romney can speak with great credibility and depth on economic issues. So if he makes the general election, he will definitely be able to give the most compelling and sophisticated argument in favor of the conservative approach. In addition, Obama will have to tread very carefully on economic positions, because if he makes a weak argument, Romney will ram it down his throat.

    Still, at this point I suspect conservatives are going to want to nominate a real meat and potatoes no-doubt conservative who makes them feel good about being conservative. And Romney just isn’t that guy.

  • Nick Benjamin

    At this point straw polls aren’t very useful because there are so many candidates.

    As for Romney he’s doomed. Flip-flops are always bad. Flip-flops on something like the Individual Mandate, and Abortion are really bad. This year the combination of the two will probably kill him in the caucus states, which means he has to have massive victories in the primary states or he’ll be Hillaried.

    In general if I was the GOP I’d be worried that only two of their candidates are net positive, one almost certainly won;t run (Huckabee), Romney will be lucky to get out of the primary, and is only +4 anyway.

    The way it looks we’re gonna have a not-terrible economy, a health care bill is universally referred to as a huge deal, a war ended in Iraq, Qaddafi dead, and the GOP nominee is gonna be someone the American people just don’t like very much.

  • kranky kritter

    the GOP nominee is gonna be someone the American people just don’t like very much.

    In what sense? In the sense of having higher unfavorability ratings than the, um, democratic nominee? This sounds like wishful thinking to me.

    I don’t suppose there’s any way that the Obama supporters who are more ardent than me can be made to stop focusing so strongly (gleefully) on all the conservatives who simply WILL NOT be the GOP nominee.

    The more I hear the more I think the field has narrowed to Pawlenty and a governor to be named later.

  • gerryf

    Two years ago, I might have said Mitch Daniels but his anti-labor actions have exposed him as the not so moderate Republican who might have had some traction. Former governor Pataki might have appealed to moderates at one time, but now has too much baggage. Huntsman? I dunno. Brownback? The right wing pretty much rejected him last time around.

    You’re just not going to find any Repub who can navigate the primary process and come still appeal to the independents. The bat crap crazy wing of the GOP has so taken over that a broad appeal Republican is doomed.

  • kranky kritter

    I agree that the things it takes to win a primary are often not the same as the things it takes to win the gen elec. True for both sides, btw. And as I already said, I think the GOP really is ripe to pick a meat and potatoes conservative.

    But most folks have yet to announce. That means that the big money donors have yet to place their bets. Now, we can take it as a given that a few months from now liberals will begin really whining in earnest about how citizens united has tipped the big money scales for the GOP and wealthy conservative special interests like big business etc. So where’s that money going to go? It’s going to go to a viable candidate with a chance of winning and thus delivering spoils.

    So what about Huntsman?

    I don’t know anything much about Daniels. But I think you’re overestimating the fraction of the public that is deeply troubled by attempts to curb the power of public employee unions.

  • gerryf

    Huntsman is fiscally conservative and socially conservative, but not in a way that offends. He seems reasonable. When Governor, he was for economic development, and tax breaks, but also supported ideas on health-care reform, education, and energy security. He acknowledges climate change, is not crazy on immigration. He is pro life, but also tolerant of same sex couples. He supported the stimulus plan. His wife is hot (but why does she have to sell cosmetics?). Unfortunately (as far as the rightwing nuts are concerned) he’s a morman. Basically, he seems like someone a lot of independents could get behind.

    I may be overestimating the number of people who are upset about Daniels and his efforts to curb public employee unions, but he laid the groundwork for Walker, et al. What little influence labor still has will be coming out in full force against him. It won’t help that he’s running against a sitting president. I may be overestimating the ire he has aroused, and in a race between two non-candidates it might not matter, but against a sitting president who will likely be presiding over a still imporving economy, it will be enough to stop him.

    As for Citizen’s United, I will whine about it now. It was a bad decision and the big money will come. All the money in the world won’t help the GOP this time around.

    Yes, someone could come from out of nowhere, but I think any quality candidates will sit this one out.

  • Nick Benjamin

    The nominee is gonna be someone the American people dislike in the sense that more of them dislike him then like him. Nat Silver did an analysis back in February that’s relevant:

    This is a huge deal as a GOP nominee will be subject to a whole host of criticism for everything he does. Remember Obama was +25 in this period in ’08. Dubya was +30. McCain and Kerry were both +17 in their years. If the GOP nominee suffers a similar drop he’s gonna be at like -30. Which is a fancy way of saying 65% of the voters won’t like this guy as a human being, but they’ll have to vote for him if Obama’s gonna lose.

    It’s possible this year will be like the Democratic primary of ’92, where somebody who nobody liked because they’d never heard of him turned out to be a great politician. It’s possible that, despite attacks from the entire left, the nominee will manage to convince the American people to like him. It’s possible Obama-hate is as potent as righties think it is, and people’ll vote for somebody they can;t stand just to be rid of Obama.

    OTOH it’s also possible the GOP nominee will get whipped because nobody cn stand him.

  • kranky kritter

    Hmm. Let me get this straight. You contend that even though we don’t knowwho the GOP’s nominee is, we can be nearly sure that he or she will have an unfavorability rating greater than 50%?

    I’m sorry Nick, you seem like a nice guy and a smart guy, but that’s preposterous. Absurd on its face. I looked at the NYT article you cited, and found its basis to be quite unsound, especially given how strongly it was relying on the large unfavorability numbers of folks who IMO simply aren’t going to win the nomination, like Gingrich, Palin, Bachman and Paul. (You wanna take em seriously, it’s your time, so knock yourself out.)

    I’m delighted to acknowledge that if one of those folks somehow wins the nomination, then you’ll be right that the GOP nom will have high unfavorables. But right now, the strongest possible candidates are Pawlenty ( at -1 with a whopping 65% unknown) and a governor yet to be named, like say Huntsman or Christie (who I refuse to cross off the list until at least Christmas, regardless of what he says or others claim).

    Look, if you’re an Obama supporter, you’ve got to love his re-election chances right now, happily agreed. But 19 months from the election, it’s simply foolhardy to forecast a cakewalk. 19 months is plenty of time for a good candidate to emerge, or for something to blow up in Obama’s face, or both.

  • kranky kritter

    Gerry, you’re far from the first or only person to suggest that being a mormon counts as serious flaw among non-mormon conservatives. So I know that some or even many folks share this view, and maybe there’s a sound basis for it.

    But I’m at a loss to explain it. If you look at mormon values, they’re a very good match for conservative values. Now, I do appreciate that some conservatives may have some visceral misgivings about mormons based simply on some sort of “fear of weirdness” factor. But still, I don’t see it ads anything that would stop a conservative from enthusiastically preferring someone like Huntsman to Obama the antichrist.

    Which points right at my main reason for counseling against forecasting anything like an Obama cakewalk. Every election involving an incumbent president is a referendum on him. Lots of folks really hate Obama, every bit as many as who grew to hate to Bush. So I have a hard time imagining this election being any less close than say Bush-Kerry, which came down to a handful of swing states IIRC.

  • Nick Benjamin

    Silver’s analysis is sound. If the GOP nominee is on his list that person is already disliked by most Americans who know who he is. This means a GOP candidate with negative net approval is pretty much inevitable unless:

    1) They bring in a new guy.

    2) They can prove the number of people who know (say) Tim Pawlenty’s name is not representative of the population. The trouble with this is that historically that hasn’t been the case. It may be true some Jon Stewart effect is in evidence, and the ratings reflect nothing more then that a left-leaning audience is paying attention to these guys four days a week.

    Regardless of what you believe aboutpoint 2, the simple factisthisis a really bad sign for the GOP.

    As for Mormons, when people say conservatives don’t like them it’s for theological reasons, not ideological ones. Conservatives tend to be Evangelical, and Evangelicals are just not comfortable voting for a uy who believes in the Bible as Dictated to Joe Smith. I’d assume this bias against Mormons is shrinking, and probably it’s even gone the way of their historic bias against Catholics; but’s it’s still something worth looking for inGOP Primary polls.

  • Mike A.


    “Now, I do appreciate that some conservatives may have some visceral misgivings about mormons based simply on some sort of “fear of weirdness” factor.”

    I think with any large group of like-minded people, you will always have ideological entrenchment with the result of an “us-vs-them” culture. I have lived in a small, dominantly mormon community and have seen the “fear of weirdness” between mainstream religious townspeople and the mormon community. But, I will also say there are some tenants of mormonism that the average citizen would find weird such as God resides near a star called Kolob, as a mormon you have the potential of becoming a god, Jesus once visited america, etc. etc. Personally I don’t believe these are any stranger than most mainstream religious beliefs (the only difference between a religion and a cult is time) but there is sufficient fuel to paint mormons as significantly different than “us”

  • michael mcEachran

    @ Mike A. : “Personally I don’t believe these are any stranger than most mainstream religious beliefs”

    Yeah, it baffles me that “magic underware” is weird, but “eating the body of Christ” is not. If Jesus could walk on water (walk on water!) he sure as hell could teleport to America. I mean really. Not to mention Jesus told his followers they could become god-like (what’s the difference?). It’s all semantic, and hysterical. BTW – I don’t think one justifies the other, I think they’re all bats**t crazy.

    The bottom line are the results. Seems to me Mormons have done a better job converting their bats**t crazy ideas into “goodliness” than fundemental Christianity.

  • Mike A.

    To Michael McE,

    I have met and been friends with many mormons and can say this. Most of them I have met are very considerate, polite and soft spoken. Their public persona is very likable (again based only on my personal interactions).

    What’s funny about the magic underwear…you can easily pick out LDS followers at the local hot springs!

  • Gerryf

    My magic underwear says a Mormon cannot win the white house…but then Iraqis that about a half black man in 2008. I know a lot of “Christians” who will not vote for a Mormon. These same Christians STIlL won’t vote for Catholics. In Michigan where I am they did not vote for big daddy Romney and won’t vote for Mitt, either. I am not saying I is right…it just is.

  • Gerryf

    Iraqis? Wow, the old iPad spellcheck really did a number there!

  • theWord

    It would be good if we could live into a world where any idea not supported by evidence is not given any special credence. michael makes some interesting points but I’d say it was a better argument for saying it’s all crazy. If someone comes to you with a crazy idea on anything else you don’t say it’s a good thing or shows rational thinking skills but of course who needs those in government.