Twenty-nine percent of Republican voters nationwide say former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is their pick to represent the GOP in the 2012 presidential campaign. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 24 percent prefer former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney while 18 percent would cast their vote for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 14 percent of the vote while Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty gets 4 percent. Six percent of GOP voters prefer some other candidate while 7 percent remain undecided.
These numbers reflect an improvement for Huckabee since July when the three candidates were virtually even. Huckabee’s gain appears to be Palin’s loss as Romney’s support has barely changed.
The numbers for Huckabee and Romney look even stronger when GOP voters were asked which candidate they would least like to see get the nomination. Pawlenty came on top in that category with 28 percent. Palin was second at 21 percent while 20 percent named Gingrich. Romney and Huckabee were in the single digits with 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Huckabee and Romney are viewed favorably by 78 percent of Republican voters, Palin by 75 percent. Gingrich earns favorably reviews from 69 percent while Pawlenty is less well known and gets a positive assessment from 45 percent of Republicans.
Republican voters are very confident their nominee could be the next president of the United States. Eighty-one percent of the GOP faithful say that it’s at least somewhat likely the Republican nominee will defeat Barack Obama in 2012. Fifty percent say it’s very vikely.
Romney leads all prospects among voters who attend church once a month or less. Huckabee leads among more frequent churchgoers. Huckabee holds a huge lead among Evangelical Christians with Palin in second and Romney a distant third. Huckabee and Romney are essentially even among other Protestants while Romney has the edge among Catholics.
Romney leads among Republicans earning more than $75,000 a year while Huckabee leads among those who earn less.