Q&A #2: Huntsman In The Hunt?
"Jesse Wood" asks:
What do you think this weeks New Hampshire polls mean for Jon Huntsman?
Nothing, and everything. Nothing for winning the nomination, which he has no chance of doing, and everything for his odds of preserving his campaign through the New Hampshire primary.
The poll, conducted by our friends at Suffolk U for WHDH, has the previously pulseless Huntsman leaping to a third-place 10% among likely Granite State GOP primary voters. That probably has a little to do with the clarification of everyone's roles in the spectrum of candidates (including who's in and who's out), and a lot to do with Huntsman's single-minded focus on that state, while the rest of the field -- concerned with an actual viable strategy for winning the nomination -- spends a lot of time in Iowa, South Carolina, and even Florida, Arizona, Michigan, and whatnot.
You might sense a certain cynicism on my part about the Huntsman candidacy -- or as I call it, the Yobgoblin Stimulus Act. As far as I can tell, the main thing Huntsman is doing is keeping an awful lot of Mitt Romney's donors on the sidelines, because they don't want to get in the middle of a feud between two of the most powerful families in Utah/LDS circles. Those folks would have eventually started leaking back to Romney if Huntsman continued to have trouble cracking double-digit support -- an I mean total number of supporters, not percentage.
This poll may turn out to be an outlier, or be showing a temporary bump, or just completely wrong, but it gives Huntsman an air of viability and momentum for a little while at least.