Iowans handed Mike Huckabee a crucial win in the 2008 Republican caucus, and so far they seem ready to do that same for him in 2012, according to a new PPP poll.
In the poll, Huckabee held a commanding 12-point lead over his closest competitor, Mitt Romney. Thirty percent of respondents said Huckabee was their first choice for the party nod, while 18% said Romney was their guy. In addition, 15% said they backed Sarah Palin, and 13% supported Newt Gingrich. None of the other candidates polled by PPP–Ron Paul (6%), Tim Pawlenty (4%), John Thune (3%), and Mitch Daniels (1%)–posted double digit support.
An additional 10% of respondents said they were undecided, or planned to vote for a candidate not offered in the poll.Huckabee has consistently led in polling of the Iowa caucus, including a Neighborhood Research poll released earlier this week that found Huckabee leading Mitt Romney 24% to 19%. His lead has even improved since PPP last surveyed Iowa in May 2010. In that poll, Huckabee held a 10-point lead over Sarah Palin, 27% to17%.
In 2008, Huckabee’s upset win in Iowa vaulted him from relative obscurity to being a legitimate contender for the party nod. The state’s caucus is the first event in the presidential nominating contest, and as such it can make or break tenuous candidacies.
The PPP poll was conducted January 7-9 among 494 Iowa Republican voters. It has a margin of error of 4.4%.