Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Republican straw poll/caucuses in 2008 and he remains the favourite to do so again in 2012 (should he choose to run), according to a new poll of Iowa Republican voters.
Public Policy Polling interviewed roughly 400 Iowa “primary voters” recently and found Huckabee (27%) comfortably ahead of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (16%) and celebrity real estate developer Donald Trump (14%).
Why PPP interviewed likely “primary voters” as opposed to likely caucus attenders is something of a mystery, but maybe they imagine that the GOP straw poll that immediately precedes the actual caucuses is a kind of “firehouse primary.” Whatever. It’s useful data nonetheless.
Mr. Huckabee has not yet said he will run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, but most insiders expect that he will. Iowans are warm to the idea. Mr. Trump has been telling anyone who will listen that he would like to run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Iowa Republicans appear to be decidedly chilly to a Trump candidacy.
Earlier today, we predicted that once GOP primary voters and caucus attenders got to know Mr. Trump’s views on various issues, support for his candidacy would collapse. While that hasn’t happened yet in Iowa, Mr. Trump’s “unfavorable” rating among Iowa Republican voters is equal to his “favourable” rating. All of the other “major” Republican candidates have net positive favourable/unfavorable ratings.
As Mr. Trump’s views on a wide range of issues become better known to GOP primary voters and caucus attenders, we expect that his unfavorable ratings will get worse (and worse) and his candidacy will become, in effect, moot.