Hey, remember Jon Huntsman? He’s that guy who was the U.S. ambassador to China and governor of Utah who is running for president. He’s arguably the most qualified Republican candidate for president. Yet, he gets no love — and no support. According to the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, Huntsman doesn’t even rate as a first choice for registered voters who would vote in a Republican primary. But 2 percent tapped him as a favored second choice. He snags 3 percent of those expressing a “combined choice,” whatever that means. But never fear. We’ve seen this movie before. And it turned out quite well for the person in a similar predicament.
Bill Clinton was the little-known governor of Arkansas in 1991. Thanks to Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com at the New York Times, we know that in the first half of 1991, before he officially threw his hat into the ring, Clinton had an average of 1.7 percent support. He made it official in October 1991. His average support in the second half of 1991 was 8.3 percent.
Yes, Huntsman as a declared candidate is doing worse than Clinton did as an undeclared one. But the lesson here is don’t count a guy out until the primary voters do. That basically gives Huntsman, who has put all of his electoral eggs in the Granite State’s basket, 63 days from today to live.