According to a Wall Street Journal and NBC poll of 1,000 American adults, Rick Perry is the leader of the GOP race with 38% of those polled supporting him. Mitt Romney was the second with 23%. Everyone else was below 10%. Now there is plenty of analysis on the front runners and the runner ups to the front runners. Who I would like to look at are the two lowest in the poll. These are Rick Santorum at 3% and Jon Huntsman at 2%.
Rick Santorum is a lawyer and an ex-senator from Pennsylvania. He has a very socially conservative record during his time in the senate. He is a very pro-life, disproves of homosexual conduct, and supports teaching intelligent design in public schools or at the very least “Teaching the Controversy.” He spent two terms as Senator, and was largely consistent on his policies.
There are several reasons that may explain his low numbers. First is the due to statements he made regarding homosexuality got him targeted by Dan Savage, a sex columnist and gay rights activist, to start a campaign to get the word Santorum be associated with various sex acts. Definitions of this are among the first links one gets when they google the name Santorum. Another reason is the fact that he lost his senate election by a massive margin. His opponent in the 2007 race won 59% of the vote, the largest margin of defeat of an incumbent senator. This combined with the fact that Santorum has brought no unique qualities to the race, and has kept a low profile would seem to explain his low numbers.
At the bottom of the line is Jon Huntsman. He has a very impressive history. He has spent considerable time in private business, public administration, served as the governor of Utah, and most recently was appointed as ambassador to China. His time spent as governor of Utah saw massive tax cuts, budget surpluses and Pew recognition of Utah being “The best managed state.” He has a history of appealing to both conservatives and liberals. The largest demonstration of this is the fact that he was appointed ambassador to China by President Obama.
This may be part of the explanation of his low numbers. In the current anti-incumbent atmosphere of American politics, being well liked by democrats is not a good thing. Couple this with the fact that nomination process for either party is largely based on the desires of the base. In most elections one sees a candidate go further left or right during the primary and then during the general election there is a shift back to the center. Huntsman appeals to independents, not the general voter in a republic primary. I could suggest that Huntsman could run as a third party candidate, however this is not a humor piece.