CNN has acquired two Huntsman campaign memos to donors, including a memo from Huntsman pollster Whit Ayers with some rather hopeful news for the Huntsman campaign:
In a separate polling memo, Huntsman pollster Whit Ayres dismissed early national polls as “utterly useless” tools for predicting the Republican nominee. In August 2007, he noted, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson topped the field while the ultimate Iowa winner, Mike Huckabee, was stuck at 2 percent.
Ayres argued that poll numbers in early states are “unlikely to move” until the candidates hit the television and radio airwaves “for an extended period of time” and introduce themselves to the vast majority of voters. Huntsman has yet to run an advertisement.
The pollster also shared internal data from New Hampshire and Florida showing that a majority voters there considered Huntsman’s experience in China under Obama an asset. More voters viewed his service as a patriotic duty instead of a partisan betrayal, Ayres said.
Too many pundits on both the left and the right were quick to hang Governor Huntsman’s ambassadorship to China around his neck like an albatross, but it seems the voters see it quite differently. And indeed they should. His record as Utah’s governor is superior to the rest of the GOP field, but it is his foreign policy experience, specifically with China, that really puts him head and shoulders above any other candidate, as Huntsman’s lecture at Dartmouth clearly highlighted. I still feel confident that when voters, and not talking heads, examine Jon Huntsman and his record that they will agree it’s Huntsman who brings the total package to the GOP field.