Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What is Driving the Huckabee Surge?

The short answer is "social conservatives". But is there a longer answer? Mike Huckabee has little if any money and certainly doesn't have the infrastructure in Iowa that Mitt Romney has. So how is he getting his message out?

This Washington Post article implies that there is a grassroots network of "pastors, parents who home-school their children, and other Christian conservatives." It appears that there is a broad based support among social conservatives in Iowa for Huckabee. Even Tim LeHaye, co-author of the popular Left Behind series of books is making campaign appearances with Huckabee.

Huckabee has also tapped into the network of Christians that was compiled by Redeem The Vote. RTV has an impressive list of 71,000,000 names and e-mail addresses of Christian voters. 71,000,000! And even though RTV offered access to the list to all candidates -- democrat and republican alike -- only Huckabee took them up on it. And it appears to be paying off for him in Iowa.

Huckabee has recently condemned the push polling by an organization called Trust Huckabee, stating that it doesn't represent what his campaign is about. And the Weekly Standard's Dean Barnett admits that he underestimated Huckabee. Even Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform seems to have softened to Huckabee.

But can Huckabee's momentum last? Assuming he performs well in Iowa (finishes first or second), New Hampshire is a much bigger test. And Huckabee's position on social issues important to evangelical voters won't play as well there as it has in Iowa. Then there is Michigan and Nevada. But after that is South Carolina and Florida. If Huckabee looses his footing in New Hampshire, he very well could regain it in South Carolina before the Super Tuesday primaries on February 5.

A few days ago we were talking about a Giuliani-Huckabee ticket. But will there soon be talk of a ticket with Huckabee on top?


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