Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman has a much bigger hill to climb than any of his fellow Republican presidential candidates. As both a Mormon and one of the more moderate candidates in the field, he already runs the risk of being a lesser known Mitt Romney, making it harder for him to break free of the frontrunner’s shadow.
Now, to make matters even worse, he’s planning on skipping the Iowa caucus.
Jon Huntsman confirmed in New Hampshire that he’s “not competing in Iowa,” offering this McCain-like explanation, according to ABC News: “I don’t believe in subsidies that prop up corn, soybeans and ethanol.”
Of course, Iowa’s also a conservative, heavily evangelical state that could be tough political ground for Huntsman.
How tough is it? Well, it looks like he has one supporter there.
No, really. Just one. According to Public Policy Polling:
As I tweeted earlier today one Iowa Republican on the poll we will release tomorrow said they would vote for Jon Huntsman if the election was today- not 1% but one respondent, period.
Here are some facts about Huntsman’s supporter:
-He is ‘not sure’ when it comes to Barack Obama’s job performance- doesn’t approve or disapprove. He reports having voted for Obama in 2008.
-Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of. He expresses ‘no opinion’ about Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Fred Karger, Paul Ryan, and Gary Johnson. He has an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.
-When it comes to the general election he would vote for Romney over Obama, but he would vote for Obama if the GOP nominee was Palin or Cain. He’s undecided about match ups between Obama and Gingrich or Pawlenty.
One voter. We don’t know where that voter stands on ethanol, though.
Romney was also planning on skipping the Iowa caucus, before he was encouraged by leadership to at least pay lip service even though a win there is pretty unlikely. Still, Romney is making the effort to court the ethanol enthusiasts, even as Tim Pawlenty, whom some believe is trying to be the “anti-Romney,” says they are a bad idea.
So is Huntsman really skipping Iowa because of ethanol, or because he knows he cannot put together any sort of showing there? And if it’s the latter…well, Romney can afford to have one bad early performance as he has so many other primaries coming after that he is likely to do better in. As for Huntsman, exactly where does he expect to find an illusive win?