Will Independents Embrace Huntsman?

He's up to 13% in New Hampshire, thanks to independent voters
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2011 7:25 AM CST
Jon Huntsman speaks during a Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Dec. 15.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool)
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(Newser) – Just about every candidate who has run for the GOP nomination has had his (and her) moment in the sun, only to pull an Icarus when the media glare got too hot. Now, after months of polling below margins of error, this could be Jon Huntsman's chance to soar—but, ironically, he seems to be rising in the polls thanks to independents, not Republican die-hards, reports the AP. "I know full well that in order to beat Barack Obama, we've got to make sure that the arithmetic is in our favor," Huntsman said. "And that means that we're going to need some independents who support us as well."

In New Hampshire, where up to 40% of Republican primary voters are thought to be independents, Huntsman has risen to third in the polls, with 13% support among likely voters. South Carolina, too, accepts independents. "If independents participate in a big way next January, Huntsman will benefit," said one pollster. But other analysts remain skeptical, noting that Huntsman keeps switching his brand between extreme conservatism and moderateness. "Huntsman continues to mix his messages badly so that voters don't know what to believe," said one Republican operative unaffiliated with any candidate.

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