Democratic political advisers, closely watching the late emergence of announced GOP presidential candidates, are urging the White House and others to consider the likelihood of a Republican primary race between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
Democratic sources say that since they lead many polls, it is likely that they will be the last two standing and that President Obama, and the party should focus their attention and opposition research on them.
Texas polling group Anzalone Liszt Research, for example, just issued a memo to clients that reviewed current polls and found Huckabee to the be leader to watch in Iowa and South Carolina. It said that Romney has New Hampshire locked up. The firm also gave Huckabee the nod in the 11 southern states that are key to winning the nomination: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Among those voters, they said, Huckabee leads with 20 percent followed by Newt Gingrich at 11 percent and Sarah Palin at 9 percent. Romney has just 7 percent among southern voters.
Anzalone Liszt, like many Democrats, are a puzzled by the late emergence of GOP presidential candidates and they attribute that to the polls finding Obama largely unbeatable. "The lethargy on the Republican side might indicate that many potential candidates believe the 2012 GOP nomination is not especially valuable. President Obama looks strong in several critical swing states, the economy is moving in the right direction, and the president has a battle-tested campaign apparatus poised to spring into action," they wrote.
And while there are GOP front runners, they also suggest that 2012 is fertile ground for a new face to emerge if voters sour on the choices from 2008.