Jon Huntsman, who has struggled for national name recognition for months, received some encouraging news Wednesday morning. Since announcing his candidacy for president at Liberty State Park in June, the former Utah governor has yet to garner 5 percent of the vote in any national poll. Today, however, his polling numbers – which until recently were abysmal – have reached historic highs in two new national surveys.
According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, as Guy noted earlier, Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead over his Republican rivals. But, despite his unprecedented popularity, is there a viable alternative in the field besides Mitt Romney?
While most political observers will probably dismiss Huntsman’s new numbers, his unorthodox, old-fashioned style of retail politicking seems to be paying off. He is, after all, polling at 8 percent in New Hampshire – the state where he has unabashedly allocated most of his resources. This, in effect, places him fourth in the Granite State – only 6 percentage points behind Ron Paul.
Moreover, the exodus of Herman Cain coupled with his strong performance in Monday’s Lincoln-Douglas style debate has catapulted the foreign policy wonk into the limelight. If anything, the question is not whether or not Jon Huntsman has the experience, knowledge, or requisite political skill to lead America, but whether he can convince voters to reevaluate his candidacy. Almost every GOP hopeful vying for the nomination – excluding Rick Santorum – has had their moment in the sun. The question, in short, is will Jon Huntsman?
My suspicion, of course, is that the former governor will probably not win the Republican nomination. Nevertheless, at the very least, his new polling numbers suggest he won’t be calling it quits anytime soon.