Huckabee enjoys best net-favorable opinion with GOP voters

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee enjoys the highest net-favorable impression with Republicans among potential candidates for president in 2012, a new poll said Monday.

Huckabee is the Republican candidate with the largest margin between Republicans' favorable and unfavorable impressions of him, a Gallup poll found, while other candidates struggled with low recognition rates.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich enjoys a 24 percent net-favorable rating at 24 percent, the poll found, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 23 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 22 percent, Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) at 19 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) at 18 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) at 17 percent, Sen. John Thune (S.D.) at 17 percent, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour at 15 percent. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stands at 13 percent and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is at 11 percent.

Of the major GOP contenders for the nomination in 2012, Thune, Pence and Daniels struggle most with low name-recognition among Republicans. Twenty percent of Republicans said they recognize Thune, 22 percent could identify Pence, and 26 percent expressed familiarity with Daniels.

Palin enjoys the highest name recognition among Republicans, at 95 percent, reflecting her high media proliferation on multiple platforms. Huckabee, Gingrich and Romney all enjoy high name ID, too, and have all spent time in the national spotlight as former candidates or political leaders.

Potential candidates who have low familiarity with GOP voters still have plenty of time to help create an impression on the national scene, with the first nominating contests a full two years away. Candidates like Pawlenty have already made trips to states like Iowa and New Hampshire in a bid to build up their image ahead of a White House run.

The Gallup poll, conducted Jan. 4-5, has a four percent margin of error.

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