Name Recognition Rules In New Iowa GOP Polling

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In the latest poll asking the residents of the early primary state of Iowa who they would support as the Republican candidate for President in 2012 name recognition appears to rule the day as many of the candidates from 2008 appear at the top of the early Iowa wish list.

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and the host of the Fox News show “Huckabee”, lead the poll with 22% of respondents stating they would vote for him to lead the GOP race for the White House if the caucuses were held today. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came in 4 points behind Huckabee with 18%. The double digit candidates were rounded out with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich garnering 14% and former Alaska Governor and 2008 GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin with 11%.

While the nationally recognized names scored big with double digit numbers the lesser known candidates were left with less than stellar numbers. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gathered a mere 1% less than 2 weeks after a campaign stop in the state. Other candidates who couldn’t even grab 1% include Haley Barbor, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum who last week officially announced his exploratory campaign for the 2012 White House while traveling and campaigning in the first caucus state. So is this early poll a snapshot of things to come or is name recognition the name of the game in the initial polling?

Huckabee, Romney, Gingrich and Palin are nationally known, high profile candidates who have been to Iowa on many occasions. Pawlenty and Santorum, although they have visited the state recently are less known outside of their respective states and the same could be said for Haley Barbour and Rick Perry. All have the credentials to make the run for office. The only difference would appear to be name recognition on a national stage. Right now, it appears the early gauge in Iowa is pointing towards the Big Dogs. However, the Little Dogs have plenty of time to get their name out to the Iowa voters as well as the rest of the country. Although there’s a lot to be said for name recognition, substance usually wins out. The 2008 GOP Iowa caucus winner, Mike Huckabee, eventually conceeded the nomination to John McCain. Iowa, although they have the first word, do not have the last.

Because in the end it is the message that will win the White House, not the name behind it.

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