Mike Huckabee explains why he could be the 2016 GOP nominee

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee hasn't decided yet if he's running for president. But if he does, he seems confident that his coalition of support from the 2008 election and foreign policy know-how could take him all the way to the White House.

Huckabee won the Iowa caucus in 2008 and does well among evangelical voters, in part because of his background as a pastor. He could face some competition for those voters from Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who became the first major candidate to announce his presidential bid at the world's largest Christian college earlier this month. But Huckabee says he has more than just evangelical support.

"Certainly, they're an important part of the base that I enjoyed back in 2008. But I think the untold secret is that a lot of the support that I had, and I anticipate that I will have, is from the working-class, blue-collar people who grew up a lot like I did, not blue blood, but blue collar," he said. "There's a real sense in the Republican Party that there's no one speaking, not only to them, but speaking for them. And if someone can capture both the blue-collar, working-class Republicans, the conservatives, many of them even union members, as well as evangelicals, there's a real pathway to the nomination."

Huckabee came in second in a new CBS News Poll that asked Republicans who they would consider supporting for the presidential nomination. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came in first with 51 percent of GOP voters saying they would vote for him, while Huckabee garnered support from 42 percent.

But he's not yet sure if he'll be running.

"A decision hasn't been made. I've been saying it's going to be this spring. We're barely into it. It's still snowing in Boston. So give me a few more weeks," he said, promising an announcement "relatively soon."

Huckabee also looked to quash the idea that he lacked the necessary foreign policy experience to tackle the host of challenges facing the U.S. abroad. He cited 42 years of traveling to the Middle East, with visits to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Turkey, Pakistan and India.

"This is a part of the world with which I am familiar, first hand. And as a governor, I also met with many world leaders, as well as CEOs of multinational corporations. And frankly, most governors do," he said. "I think it's sometimes perceived that governors don't have much of a worldview. I would tend to take issue that that's not always the case."

As for the question of whether the GOP race would be all about which candidate is the most conservative, Huckabee said, "compared to the current administration, all of us are conservative."

"I know that there's going the be a big brouhaha over who's the most conservative. But if you look at all the Republicans who are thinking about running, there really isn't an outright liberal in the whole bunch. There may be degrees of more conservative on one policy or another," he said.

But, he added, "the average American voter, at least the ones that are going to decide the election, they don't think horizontally. It's not, for them, left, right, liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican. ... They're a heck of a lot more concerned about somebody getting this country, this economy, and our world in an upward direction than just to say that, horizontally, we've moved further to the right, or we've moved further to the left."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.