Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Utahns May Prefer Mitt Romney Over Jon Huntsman Jr. For President, But Barack Obama May Be More Scared Of Huntsman In 2012


According to a recent Dan Jones poll, Utahns would prefer Mitt Romney over Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012. However, Barack Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, appears to be more scared of Huntsman. This story now picked up by the Deseret News, which offers considerable more detail.

While no Republican presidential candidate yet makes Obama's team shake in their shoes, so to speak, President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, says Governor Huntsman makes him, a "wee bit queasy...I think he's really out there speaking a lot of truth about the direction of the party."

And Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics agrees. "Huntsman has positioned himself in a great place right now because he is the only presidential candidate really running in the middle right now." And Jowers, who has advised three Republican Presidential candidates, says Huntsman has now become a top five candidate for 2012.

Another sign of a possible Huntsman run - KTVX noticed that the governor's schedule for Tuesday, May 5th at 11:15 A.M. includes a phone call with Frank Luntz. The significance of this is that Luntz is one of the premier Republican pollsters and strategists in the country. And nearly all serious Republican presidential candidates will talk to Luntz and possibly employ his services. But Governor Huntsman has repeatedly denied any intent to run for President in 2012.

According to the Dan Jones poll, discussed HERE, 55 percent chose Romney, 32 percent picked Huntsman, and 13 percent were undecided. On the other hand, Utah is "redder" than most of the country, and while Romney may play well in Utah, he might flop in other more moderate states.

Many conservatives are turned off by moderate Republicans because of the negative example set by John McCain. However, McCain might have been handicapped by the fact that he showed his advancing age so visibly during the campaign. A younger and more vigorous moderate Republican like Huntsman could prove more palatable. But Huntsman has made conservatives uneasy through his public endorsement of civil unions and his support of the cap-and-trade carbon cult.

Nevertheless, Huntsman consistently pulls popularity ratings of greater than 80 percent here, because most people are satisfied with the efficiency with which he runs the state. So if he was to become the Republican Presidential nominee, Utah would line up behind him.

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