Jon Huntsman Jr. shows gains in support for Republican candidacy
Huntsman hasn't made himself a top candidate since entering the GOP race; however, he may poll in the number three position in New Hampshire
October 5, 2011, 12:26 am · Updated October 6, 2011, 4:05 am·
Elizabeth Jacobs | DP
1987 College graduate Jon Huntsman Jr. may be closer to the White House than most would have anticipated even just a week ago — though his campaign remains pretty far from winning the race.
Huntsman, a Republican presidential candidate who has served as the governor of Utah and ambassador to China, has been unable to make himself a top-tier candidate since he entered the GOP race in June. However, a new Suffolk University poll released on Sept. 21, reports that Huntsman may poll in the number three position in New Hampshire.
Former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and Governor of Texas Rick Perry are considered the race’s front-runners, although Georgia businessman Herman Cain has made leaps in recent national polls as well — an Oct. 2 CBS News poll has him tied in first place with Romney at 17 percent just two weeks after an earlier CBS poll that pegged him at five percent.
The Suffolk poll reports Romney at 41 percent — well ahead of any other candidate. Congressman Ron Paul at 14 percent and Huntsman in his highest polling number yet at 10 percent still trail behind Romney. Perry polled at only 8 percent in the poll.
Huntsman’s probable success in New Hampshire has led him to move his campaign headquarters to the state from its formal location in Orlando, Fla. “We’re going to focus singularly on New Hampshire,” Huntsman said on MSNBC. He is hoping that a successful win in New Hampshire will be the boost the candidate has been looking for and will carry him in the polls through the few elections afterward, especially Iowa and South Carolina.
Huntsman has become more aggressive in the media as well, trying to appeal to investors while the campaign is struggling with fundraising, leading him to invest $500,000 of his own money to keep up with campaign costs. “You want to be a rising star, not a shooting star. Everybody is looking for who’s on the cover of Time magazine, who is up here in the polls,” Huntsman said. “It’s got to be a gradual, steady rise based on substance, based upon the early building blocks in New Hampshire. We haven’t had a single vote cast. We haven’t had a single primary.” He also called himself “undervalued stock.”
Many believe that Huntsman needs to make a strong appearance in the GOP debate, set to take place on Oct. 18 in Las Vegas in order to maintain his recent increase in momentum. Before last Wednesday, it was not clear whether the candidate would even make an appearance in that debate given the criteria requiring polling number of at least two percentage points in at least three national polls. It was not until Sept. 28, when a poll by Fox News reported Huntsman at four percentage points, that he was eligible for the debate.