Poll: Huckabee leads in the South
March 2nd, 2011
09:04 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Huckabee leads in the South

(CNN) - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is a popular presidential hopeful in the southern states, according to a new Winthrop University poll, which indicates that two in ten southern adults say they'd vote for Huckabee as the next GOP nominee.

When asked who would be their first choice as the next Republican nominee, 22 percent of respondents chose Huckabee, who's not new to the game, having run in 2008 for the Republican presidential nomination. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in a distant second with 13 percent support. Nine percent of probable GOP primary voters said they'd choose former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the next Republican nominee, ranking her third in the survey. She was among nine candidates who received single digit support out of the 15-candidate pack.

"Huckabee has always had a strong base in the south, it was area of strength for him in 2008 and a lot of people were surprised when (Sen. John) McCain surged ahead of him later, so it's not surprising that before the full campaign begins his name floats to the top in a list of rank-and-file Republicans in the South," Scott Huffmon, Associate Professor of Political Science at Winthrop University, tells CNN.

Rounding out the top ten were New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with roughly 8 percent support, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 7 percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Congressman Ron Paul, who both hovered around 6 percent of favor in the poll.

Businessman Herman Cain, the only person to formally open a presidential exploratory committee, out-ranked both Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, in the survey. Almost two percent of voters in the South favor Cain as the Republican nominee; Bachmann and Barbour both received one percent support.

The poll included names taken from possible candidates who received votes during the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, held in February, specifically to gauge where "people who activists like" fared among "southern voters" according to Huffmon. It was conducted in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

"There is a gap between who the activists nationally like and who southerners like, but as the campaign gets underway, we expect that gap to close," says Huffmon.

The Winthrop University poll was conducted by telephone from February 21-27 among 825 adults. It an overall sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.41 percentage points.

Filed under: 2012 • Mike Huckabee • Polls
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Alina77

    Huckabee is a birther , to me its like believing in to a guy that believes in Tinker-bell. Too bad, I liked him ones.

    March 2, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    Why would anyone chose a person like Huckabee that is a known liar? If he will lie before he is president then he would lie after being elected. Maybe with Huckabee being a preacher, he thinks he has a free pass to lie.

    March 2, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. ART

    Theres no way this fox tv personality could win an election

    March 2, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  4. diridi

    two in ten is leading???????

    March 2, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. ja

    leading among who, they didn't poll me or anyone i know,pollls don't have the last word

    March 2, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  6. Anonymous

    These "faux" polls represent whatever they want them to represent ! I am from the south, and Ron Paul is the Buzz, there are still 2008 Campaign signs up .....with the 2008 marked over...2012! Run paul, RUN!!

    March 2, 2011 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Laverne

    This guy is like an old, slick car salesman. He comes off with that Jim Nabors, southern charm to pull you in, but he is as calculating and backstabbing as any other republican. He is just another good ole boy from the south who will say or do anything to get votes and then true colors will emerge! I am so on to you Mr. Huckabee!

    March 2, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    Why does this not surprise me????!!!!

    Not just Huckabee, but everyone else who does have the lead in the South seems like that the phrase "leads in the South" is always preceded by another phrase:

    "...makes a huge mistake..." then "...leads in the South..."

    Apparently, as Texas proves it every single day, you have to say and do stupid stuff for the South to support you, now can we just please grant them their secession??? It is embarrassing to be associated with such dumb people...

    March 2, 2011 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    This is a surprise?

    March 2, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  10. Rosslaw

    And his last venture in foreign affairs was to castigate the Obama administration for not supporting Egypt's former dicatator, Mubarak. How do these guys stand being so right all the time?

    March 2, 2011 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    He lost the last primary, and he will again.

    March 2, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    And now thanks to his statement that the President grew up in Kenya, he's firmed up his credentials with the "birther" crowd. What a huge disappointment. I don't have the same political views as he does, but I did have respect for him just the same. That's gone.

    March 2, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    By now, McCain had announced, had his team together, and had began his campaign in earnest. Today, the eight or nine GOPer wannabee's who can't seem pull their thumb out of their mouths . . . aren't exaclty showing confidence in themselves, let alone their overall intentions. The longer they delay, the harder it will be for one of them to become the leader of the pack. Just saying.

    March 2, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. karen

    I have always liked Mike H but why the heck did he have to drink the Foxaid and start spewing trash about Obama growing up in Kenya? Now he looks either stupid or a liar, or both. I thought he had more integrity than that.

    March 2, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Hey, Mike, how's that "Obama was raised in Kenya" thingy going for ya? Hm, let's see – we have an ordained Baptist Minister former Governor and you consider it news that he is ahead in polls in the South? What parts of the South? What was the socioeconomic and educational background of those polled? Were they White, Black or Hispanic? Like I have said before, pollsters target a specific segment of the population to get the results they expect, then throw out anything that does not fit into their predetermined bell curve as outliers.

    While I am not enamored of his politics, IMHO, Mitt Romney (yes, the one I call Mittens Flip-Flop on other posts) is a more well-educated and articulate representative of the Republican party. That means he has no chance in aitch-e-Double-Hockey-Sticks of wining their nomination (unless the Koch brothers decide he should be the nominee). Any one who shows the slightest bit of intellectualism is pretty much ostracized by the Rank-and-File of the Republican party as too elitist for them.

    March 2, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. American

    Oh brother, another "birther"...

    As a former preacher, Huckabee should know better. How disappointing.

    March 2, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. Yoyall

    With Huckabee's comment that Obama "grew up in Kenya," Republicans are revealing their true colors: lying idiots. Whatever sells, right? Anything for the power.

    March 2, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. gt

    so what ...who leads in the indiana and ohio ....thats where it choose the next president...

    March 2, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. Bill from GA

    I have just figured it out: THIS is the repugs secret jobs plan. Get a dozen or so "candidates" running for prez, Big Business gets off its huge stash of money, throws a little of it at each of them, and the money gets circulated around the country. Sheer Genius!!

    March 2, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |