ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
It’s a question that every potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate has to ask before jumping into the race: Could I beat Barack Obama?
Sarah Palin already said she thinks so, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee acknowledged in an appearance on ABC’s “The View” on Monday that he won’t enter the GOP primary unless he comes to the same conclusion.
“I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think I could,” Huckabee said. “Obviously you don’t run in a race thinking, ‘boy I’d love to go and lose, that’d be a lot of fun.’”
“I think it’s going to be harder to beat Barack Obama than a lot of Republicans are thinking because he is the president, he’s going to have a billion dollars starting out in his war chest, there is an extraordinary advantage of an incumbent,” Huckabee said. “And I’ll tell you something else people don’t think about: a divided government is good for the executive branch.”
He added, “When the executive and the legislative branches fight, the executive always wins,” citing his own experience with a Democratically-controlled Arkansas legislature.
Some fresh polling numbers may help Huckabee, a veteran of the 2008 GOP presidential primary, make up his mind about running. A new Quinnipiac University survey released on Monday found Obama ahead of Huckabee by 2 points in a theoretical match up — a virtual dead heat. (The survey’s margin of error is 2 percentage points.)
Only one candidate — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — actually polls higher than Obama in a head-to-head race, and only by 1 percentage point, according to the Quinnipiac results.
Among other potential GOP contenders, Huckabee comes in third in the poll, trailing Palin who gets 19 percent of Republican support and Romney who garners 18 percent. Huckabee comes up with 17 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 15 percent.