WASHINGTON -- The last presidential election took place barely 11 months ago, but a new poll shows former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee leading a field of Republican candidates for the 2012 GOP nomination.
The Rasmussen survey of 750 Republican voters conducted Oct. 15 shows Huckabee at 29 percent, Mitt Romney 24 percent, Sarah Palin 18 percent and Newt Gingrich 14 percent. Huckabee also beats Romney and Palin in head-to-head matchups, edging Romney 44-39 percent and Palin 55-35 percent.
Although 2012 is still three years away, campaigning and fundraising for the GOP nomination will begin much sooner. The first debates will take place in 2011, several months after next year's mid-term elections.
Huckabee won eight states during his bid for the 2008 Republican nomination and finished second in delegate count. He's currently the host of his own show on Fox News, "Huckabee," which consistently is the top show in its time slot against other cable news programming.
He was governor of Arkansas for 10 years. Prior to his political career he served as pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark., and Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana, Ark. He also attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.