Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race for the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination. The news to be formally announced Jan 16, 2012 was released late on Sunday. Huntsman is expected to shift his support to frontrunner Mitt Romney, adding to the support and probability that Romney will win the Republican nomination.
Jon Huntsman started the 2012 Republican nomination race as a relative unknown to most of the public. He was a Governor of Utah, and the former ambassador to China. He is part of a highly successful family global business in chemicals. His credentials would have implied that he could have been a serious contender for the nomination.
But almost from the start of the debates, Huntsman lagged the huge field of Republican hopefuls. Early in 2011 Huntsman was looking at single digit polling. The response was to push for a win, or competative 2nd place, in New Hampshire. This was done at the cost of almost completely abandoning Iowa, the first Caucus.
The result in Iowa Caucus reflected the polling from the latter half of 2011, from across the country. But Huntsman spoke boldly and definitively about his chances in New Hampshire’s Primary. But once the deed was done, and the votes counted, Huntsman lagged by a huge margin. Added to this was the fact that Huntsman had missed the Arizona cut-off date to register for that vote.
Still there was initial hope that South Carolina, on Jan 21st, might hold some glimmer of rescue. The latest polling data again suggested Huntsman would receive a percentage of votes that wouldn’t cross into double digits (matching our prediction on Jan 11th of a 3 – 6% return in that race). Though that did not account for South Carolina’s largest newspaper – The State – endorsing Huntsman over their second choice Romney. But that was apparently too little too late.
The loss of Jon Huntsman now leaves 5 Republicans in the contest. Reuters, on Jan 14th, shows Mitt Romney with 21%, followed by Rep. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum tied for second with 16% each. Newt Gingrich is in third with 12% and no mention was made of Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Rasmussen, on Jan 12th, showed Romeny with 28%, Gingrich with 21%, Rep. Paul and Santorum tied at 16%, with Perry at 6%.
Real Clear Politics shows the average of polling from Jan 11 – 15th as:
Obviously polling from this week will reflect whether or not Romney will benefit from the loss of Huntsman, who is expected to endorse Romney. We estimate that the loss of Huntsman will still bring Romney to 32% at best, with Santorum and Rep. Paul splitting up the difference.
While it is not definitive yet, we expect that by the end of the South Carolina Primary, Gov. Perry will also take his leave of the nomination race.