Huckabee leads field of GOP hopefuls in Iowa

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leads the field of potential 2012 Republican hopefuls in Iowa, according to a new poll commissioned by TheIowaRepublican.com. 

Huckabee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney garner the most support in the poll, which paints a picture at the top that's not all that different than the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. 

Huckabee has 22 percent of the vote to Romney's 18 percent among likely Republican voters in the state. In 2008, Huckabee held off Romney to win in Iowa despite getting significantly outspent.

Somewhat surprisingly, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was in third with 14 percent, ahead of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who garnered just 11 percent. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) rounds out the list at 5 percent of the vote.

Two other potential candidates, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Sen. John Thune (S.D.) garnered just 1 percent in the poll, while former Sen. Rick Santorum's (Pa.) support stood at less than 1 percent. 

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, another two rumored contenders, didn't register any support. 

The poll surveyed 399 likely Republican voters and has a margin or error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points. 

While it's clearly too early to glean much of anything from these numbers, Huckabee's position at the top is interesting given that he hasn't yet shown the same eagerness for 2012 as the three who trail him.

While Romney, Palin and Gingrich have crisscrossed the country so far this cycle, dishing out tens of thousands of PAC dollars to Republican candidates and inserting themselves into a slew of GOP primaries, Huckabee has remained on the sidelines more often than not.  

He did make a late endorsement in Georgia's runoff for governor, backing former Rep. Nathan Deal (R), the eventual winner. And there has been some suggestion the former governor is simply flying under the radar

Huckabee did indicate last week that his campaign schedule is about to increase significantly as he stumps for Republicans across the country.  

Even though Huckabee is still a favorite among Iowa conservatives, 23 percent fell in the undecided camp in this poll, leaving plenty of room and plenty of time for other contenders like Pawlenty or Santorum to emerge. 

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