Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has opened a lead in his current home state among 2012 Republican presidential candidates.

According to a new poll released Monday from Public Policy Polling (aka PPP) Huckabee leads the field in Florida (the state where he is currently building a multimillion dollar mansion), with 23 percent support.

Former Massachusets Gov. Mitt Romney finished second in the poll, a significant drop from his standing when PPP first looked at the Sunshine State in March. Romney was far ahead of the rest of the pack at that point, with 52 percent support. In each subsequent PPP poll, Romney’s level of support has dropped off, but Monday’s poll is the first where he has not finished in the top slot.

However, in each new poll, the survey presented respondents with a wider selection of possible candidates. PPP’s Tom Jensen speculates that this larger field may be responsible for Romney’s continual drop in support:

Why has Romney fallen so far? I think part of the reason he polled so well earlier in the year is that he was the anti-Palin. Palin’s favorability numbers with GOP voters in Florida are a good deal worse than they are most places and Romney did well in those earlier surveys as one of the few named alternatives to her. As more response options were provided in later polls the anti-Palin sentiment was diffused across several candidates and Romney’s mile wide but inch deep support declined further and further and further to where it is now.

Patrick Caldwell reports for The American Independent.

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