I bumped into Gov. Mike Huckabee at DFW International Airport last week. As I noted on this blog at the time:
He was returning to Arkansas from an appearance in Oklahoma City and he wasn’t kissing babies or pressing flesh. “I’m off the clock,” he joked, when I spotted him. But he was genial and friendly, smiling and shooting the breeze with everyone who stopped him.
I asked him to talk about his plans for 2012. “Too early,” he responded. “I’m busy now, got plenty of things going, so I’m not thinking about it.”
Well, Gov. Huckabee may not be thinking about it yet, but pollsters are — and so are Republican voters. And the early news is good for the former Arkansas governor.
A new Washington Post/ABC Poll, published Friday, included this question:
27. (ASKED OF REPUBLICANS AND GOP-LEANING INDEPENDENTS) If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were (READ LIST) for whom would you vote?
Mike Huckabee 26
Mitt Romney 21
Sarah Palin 19
Newt Gingrich 10
Tim Pawlenty 4
Jeb Bush 3
Haley Barbour 1
Bobby Jindal (vol.) 2
Charlie Crist (vol.) *
Other (vol.) 2
None of these (vol.) 5
Would not vote (vol.) 1
No opinion 6
(To read the entire survey, click here.)
Huckabee did an extraordinary job in 2008 with no money and little organization. If he 1.) builds a strong campaign network, 2.) stumps hard, 3.) does serious campaign fundraising between now and 2012 and 4.) stakes out the right issues, he could very well capture the GOP nomination.
But he’ll have to decide, fairly soon I think, whether he wants to give it another shot.