Is Huntsman a Dud? Or Just VP Material?

Mitt Romney can breathe a bit easier today as it looks like his motorcycle-riding doppelganger is off to a very slow start.

Despite Huntsman’s flash of media attention over the last few weeks, the most accurate prognosticator in the political game says he has virtually no chance of grabbing the nomination.

Number-crunching Nate Silver finds that (in data drawn from six polls) Huntsman has the highest “unacceptability” rating (51%) of almost all candidates in the Republican pool. Voters in Iowa and South Carolina (a primary the Huntsman campaign is focusing on) give Huntsman the highest “unacceptability” ratings—at 77% and 67%, respectively.

Romney has the lowest “unacceptability” rating of all candidates—26%.

It’s early yet, and Huntsman has a long way to go with name recognition, and he’s an unlikely fit for social conservatives, though he’s trying. He made a decent showing at the Faith and Freedom Coalition late last week and followed it up with an interview with CBN in which he tried to make it clear—very, very clear, even if it sounded a bit unconvincing—that despite his support as governor for civil unions, he’s 100% against marriage equality. He’ll need to show he’s capable of surviving the early primaries in order to make it to states more friendly to moderate candidates.

But it will take more than a bit of charisma to defeat the Romney machine.

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