Real estate mogul Donald Trump has done well in Republican presidential primary polls because many people aren't familiar with the rest of the field, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Tuesday.
Barbour's comments were in response to recent polling, which showed Trump doing surprisingly well among a field of potential Republican candidates. On Tuesday CNN/Opinion Research released a new poll that found Trump tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee among potential Republican candidates. Last week, in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Trump placed second, behind only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) who formed an exploratory committee on Monday.
Barbour said during the interview with New Hampshire's WKXL radio that Americans who picked Trump in the polls were just picking someone with whom they were familiar.
He noted that those who picked Trump were thinking, "I've heard of Donald Trump before," and said they would vote for him. He added: "For some voters it may just have been that simple."
Trump and Barbour have both shown an interest in running for president, but many political observers consider Barbour the more serious candidate. Neither has taken the next step and formed an exploratory committee.
Barbour said other potential contenders will probably rise in the polls once voters become more familiar with them.
"I know this: as we go along, voters will start paying more and more attention, they'll get to know other candidates," he said.
"At the end of the day they'll make the decision on candidates they know," instead of someone they've heard of, he added.
Barbour isn't the only one who has said lack of name recognition is hurting candidates in the polls. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who has formed an exploratory committee, has said that one of his biggest obstacles in running for president is that many Americans don't know him.