'This Week' Transcript: Jon Huntsman, David Axelrod

TAPPER: Last question, Governor. You're hovering at about 2 percent to 4 percent in national polls. When you entered the race in June, you said, quote, "Give us a month or two, and I think we'll be punching through." This interview notwithstanding, I don't know that you can say that you're punching through yet. How long can you consider yourself a viable candidate with that sort of support?

HUNTSMAN: I would say, Jake, because we are on your show, that is evidence that we are punching through. But if, you know, you kind of use our standing and measure it against 2008, Fred Thompson would be president today, or in 2004, Howard Dean. You know, in New Hampshire, they pick presidents. I know they pick something else in Iowa.

So for us, you know, the trajectory and the ground game is pretty clear. We're going to do well in New Hampshire, and we're going to do well in South Carolina, and then we're going to bring it home in Florida.

I'm confident we're getting there, but I'm even more confident that the message that we bring to this race, that of a center-right message for a center-right country that is looking for commonsense solutions and a leader who's actually been there and done that in the marketplace and can apply those same principles now to a nation that so desperately needs it, that's where we are. And I think that's the message that's going to attract people.

And let's face it, Jake. The dog days of summer, months to go before people begin to pay attention. I like exactly where we are. Stay tuned. I think we're going to do just great.

TAPPER: All right. Governor Huntsman, thanks so much for joining us. Good luck on the campaign trail.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Jake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: And one of the reasons why Jon Huntsman may -- may have hope is that none of the other candidates seem to be punching through, either. For more on why that is, I'm joined by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Frank, thanks for joining us.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

TAPPER: So whether that new tack of Governor Huntsman works or not, the nomination is still very much up for grabs. According to your own polling, only 12 percent of Republicans are satisfied with the candidates and have chosen the person that he or she will support in 2012. So this is really still very much up for grabs.

LUNTZ: Well, then you've also got another 44 percent that have chosen -- that are satisfied, but still haven't definitely chosen, and almost half, 44 percent, that have not -- that aren't satisfied with who's there.

The reason why is what I call the three P's: principle, politics, and a plan. They want to choose somebody who they are sure is going to defeat Barack Obama. And that, they think, describes Governor Romney. They want to choose someone with a plan once they get elected. And even though he was critical -- Jon Huntsman was critical of Governor Perry, what Perry's done in Texas is very impressive. And then they want someone with principle, someone who's not going to compromise, and that to them is Michele Bachmann.

But no candidate in the race now has all three of those P's. And that's what's holding these GOP voters back.

TAPPER: So what are the liabilities in your focus groups when you talk to voters? What do they not see in, say, the three frontrunners you just mentioned?

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