Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee got some good news from a new Rasmussen Reports poll
, which found him earning the best shot at the Republican presidential nomination among the latest crop of candidates formally entering the race.
Of the trio of candidates who entered this week, which includes former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, likely Republican voters put Huckabee on top, Rasmussen said.
"Forty-eight percent of likely Republican voters believe Huckabee is likely to end up being the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, but that includes only 11 percent who say it is very likely," Rasmussen said in releasing the new survey Friday.
By comparison, Huckabee, who made a 2008 presidential bid — and who won that year's Iowa GOP caucus — is evenly matched against previously announced candidates Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, Rasmussen said.
The pollster said 40 percent of GOP voters think Carson could be the GOP's 2016 nominee, while 22 percent tap Fiorina.
Said Rasmussen: "Looking at the three newcomers in the GOP race, the better the candidate is known, the better shot they are given at winning the nomination."
Huckabee, 59, announced his candidacy on Tuesday from Hope, Arkansas, home to a U.S. president, Bill Clinton, CNN reported
While he has high name recognition, particularly from his run as the host of his own Fox News show, he's also not a new candidate, creating a dichotomy in strategy for his 2016 bid, CNN said.
"As my dad likes to say, 'We're at a great advantage because we've been through this before, and we're at a great disadvantage because we've been through this before,'" Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the candidate's daughter and campaign manager, told CNN. "He's going to have a bigger target on his back."
of Huckabee's second presidential go-round: "To recapture the magic that propelled him to second place in 2008, he needs to re-embrace his roots and downplay the political celebrity he has created in the past eight years."
Iowa conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats said Huckabee should tout his long record of successful governance, not his celebrity, NPR reported.
"What he's got to do is draw a contrast that shows, 'I'm not just a talk show host and I'm not just a Baptist minister, but I governed for over a decade and we achieved results in a very Democratic environment,'" said Vander Plaats, who served as chairman of Huckabee's successful 2008 caucus campaign.
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