In a new poll released by respected pollsters at Winthrop University, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is polling well ahead of the Republican field with 21.9% of likely Southern primary voters in 2012. States polled were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The next highest candidate was former Georgia congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who is expected to announced his candidacy later this week and polled at 12.9%. Sarah Palin was third at 8.7%, with Mitt Romney coming in fifth at 6.9%, barely ahead of Tim Pawlenty. The two biggest surprises are fourth place finisher and North-Easterner, Chris Christie with 7.6% and sitting Governor of Alabama, Haley Barbour, who only got 1% of the vote. Texas native Ron Paul finished at 6%, while Rick Santorum didn’t break into the 1% range and Mitch Daniels was just under 3%. About 20% haven’t decided, yet.
Other questions by Winthrop showed that the economy was the number one issue not just for Republicans, but for all Southland voters.