In the latest WSJ poll, which asks voters who they could imagine voting for, Mike Huckabee broke out into the top tier, with 65 percent of Republicans saying they could vote for him (up from 52 percent in March).
Conventional top tier candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio also make even stronger moves, with Jeb Bush moving from 49 percent “possible” voters to 75 percent while the other Florida candidate Marco Rubio moved up from 56 percent to 74 percent.
Most other Republican candidates also moved up in voters’ estimation, with the exception of Rand Paul (flat at 49 percent) and Bobby Jindal (flat at 36 percent). Walker moved only modestly up from 53 percent to 57, as did Chris Christie (32 percent in March to 36 percent now).
This is a sharp reversal for Bush, who tried to launch his campaign as the second-coming of Romney and apparently paid a price for falsely claiming the mantle of “frontrunner,” which many in the conservative media interpreted as “establishment Republican.” In mid-April, Frank Cannon pointed to a Bloomberg poll which showed 42 percent of Republicans saying they would never consider voting for Jeb.
What these early poll shifts really tell us is that Republican voters want to beat Hillary and haven’t solidified their choice of the contender to do so.
But those who counted Huckabee out should think again.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.