It's never too early for presidential speculation. In keeping with that fundamental truth, here is the latest polling on how Republican aspirants might fare in the 2012 Iowa caucuses.
After his surprise win in Iowa in 2008, which vaulted his national status to new planes, Mike Huckabee leads the survey of 399 likely Republican voters conducted by Consumer Voter Research for The Iowa Republican. Results below:
Don't Know - 23%Mike Huckabee - 22%Mitt Romney - 18%Newt Gingrich - 14%Sarah Palin - 11%Ron Paul - 5%Refused - 2%Tim Pawlenty - 1%John Thune - 1%Won't participate in the caucuses - 1%
Recipients of 1% are presented in no particular order. The poll was conducted July 25-28 by live telephone interviewers, with a rotating order of potential candidates as read over the phone.
Given the 23% who don't have a clear favorite, there remains much room for any candidate to gain traction and pull ahead. And The Iowa Republican makes a point about Huckabee's come-from-behind win in '08:
Pawlenty, Thune, Santorum and the others should all realize that they occupy the same spot in the poll that Huckabee found himself in throughout much of 2007. In Iowa, anyone can emerge if they can make a connection with caucuses goers and have a message that resonates.
It should be no surprise that Huckabee and Romney place first and second: after a grueling 2008 campaign in Iowa, the two have built up significant (and rival) power bases there. In 2008, Huckabee won with 34%; Romney placed second with 25%; Fred Thompson and John McCain came in third and fourth with 13%; and Ron Paul garnered a surprisingly formidable 10%.