WASHINGTON (CNN) – While Republican White House hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new surveys evaluating the GOP presidential horserace, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday suggests he might lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in a general election match up.
In head-to-head face-offs – the first to include Huckabee – the former Arkansas governor loses to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama by 15 percent points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards by 25 percentage points (60 percent to 35 percent).
The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Monday showing that Huckabee has doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and now is in a statistical dead heat with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
But according to CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, Huckabee's double-digit deficits with the leading Democrats likely suggests that the Arkansas Republican still lacks widespread name recognition nationally.
"Americans tend not to support candidates they're not familiar with, and it's possible Huckabee's numbers are low in these hypothetical match-ups because he is still not very well-known nationally," Holland said.
The poll also suggests Arizona Sen. John McCain would do best against the leading Democrats. He beats Clinton by 2 percentage points (50 percent to 48 percent), ties Obama (48 percent to 48 percent), and loses to Edwards by a smaller margin (8 percentage points) than the other Republican candidates do.
In addition to Huckabee, Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lose to all three top Democrats in the survey.
On the Democratic side, Edwards performs best against each of the leading Republicans. In addition to beating Huckabee by 25 percent and McCain by 8 percent, the North Carolina Democrat beats Romney by 22 percentage points (59 percent to 37 percent.)
While the survey shows McCain and Edwards performing best in their respective fields, both candidates continue to significantly trail the frontrunners of their party. In the national horserace numbers released Monday, McCain trails Giuliani by 11 percentage points and Edwards trails Clinton by 26 percentage points.
"Edwards is the only Democrat who beats all four Republicans, and McCain is the only Republican who beats any of the three Democrats," Holland said. "Some might argue this shows that they are the most electable candidates in their respective parties.
"But Edwards is in third place among Democrats and McCain is in fourth place on the GOP side. Maybe electability is not as important as it was in 2004."
The poll, conducted on December 6-9, surveyed 912 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.