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Poll: Huckabee would lose to top Democrats by double digits

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  • Poll: John McCain, John Edwards poll well against opposition candidates
  • Poll: Mike Huckabee would lose to top Democrats in hypothetical matchups
  • CNN polling director says name recognition may be factor for Huckabee
  • Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney would lose to all top Democrats, poll says
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By Alexander Mooney
CNN Washington Bureau
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- While presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new polls of GOP candidates, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday shows he would lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in hypothetical contests.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has doubled his support nationally among GOP voters, a poll says.

In head-to-head matchups -- the first to include Huckabee -- the former Arkansas governor loses to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina by 25 points (60 percent to 35 percent).

The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday that showed Huckabee doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and is in a statistical dead heat with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. View complete poll results

But Huckabee's double-digit deficits with the leading Democrats likely suggest that the Arkansas Republican still lacks widespread name recognition nationally, according to Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. Video Watch as CNN's Bill Schneider analyzes changes in the races »

"Americans tend not to support candidates they're not familiar with, and it's possible Huckabee's numbers are low in these hypothetical matchups because he is still not very well known nationally," Holland said.

The poll also shows that Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona would do best against leading Democrats. He beats Clinton by 2 percentage points (50 percent to 48 percent), ties Obama (48 percent to 48 percent) and loses to Edwards by a smaller margin (8 points) than the other Republican candidates do.

In addition to Huckabee, Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lose to all three top Democrats in the survey.

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On the Democratic side, Edwards performs best against each of the leading Republicans. In addition to beating Huckabee by 25 percent and McCain by 8 percent, the North Carolina Democrat beats Romney by 22 percentage points (59 percent to 37 percent) and Giuliani by 9 percentage points (53 percent to 44 percent).

While the survey shows McCain and Edwards performing best in their respective fields, both candidates continue to significantly trail their parties' front-runners significantly. In the national horse race numbers released Monday, McCain trails Giuliani by 11 percentage points, and Edwards is behind Clinton by 26 percentage points.

"Edwards is the only Democrat who beats all four Republicans, and McCain is the only Republican who beats any of the three Democrats," Holland said. "Some might argue this shows that they are the most electable candidates in their respective parties.


"But Edwards is in third place among Democrats, and McCain is in fourth place on the GOP side. Maybe electability is not as important as it was in 2004."

The poll, conducted between Thursday and Sunday, surveyed 912 registered voters. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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