Is Huntsman’s surge for real?

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Reporting from Nashua, Steve Kornacki says Huntsman “may or may not be having a moment right now”:

[M]ost — or all — of this late surge could just as easily be an illusion.

After all, the biggest knock on Huntsman’s New Hampshire strategy has always been that his natural base of support overlaps too much with Romney’s — and that Romney, by virtue of his virtual favorite son status and superior nomination prospects, is the obvious first choice for most of these voters. Thus, the best Huntsman has done in a New Hampshire poll this week has been 16 percent, while the worst showing for Romney has been 33. Maybe if Romney had fallen flat on his face in Iowa and was now in a free fall there would be more of an opening for Huntsman to eat into his support, but the best realistic hope for Hunstman now is that he somehow beats out Paul for second place with Romney claiming first by an underwhelming margin.

But even if that happens, would it matter much? The very thing that’s helped Huntsman attract such disproportionate media coverage — his willingness to criticize his party’s far-right turn in the Obama era — makes the idea of him turning around and winning South Carolina and other future contests virtually unthinkable.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.