Mitt Romney has regained the lead among Iowa Republicans as Mike Huckabee has lost momentum and support, even among the evangelical Christians who had propelled him into the top spot just weeks ago.
Huckabee’s support dropped 8 percentage points since the last McClatchy/MSNBC poll Dec. 3-6. A major reason why is that he’s come under sharp criticism from rivals such as Romney, been blistered as a tax raiser in a $500,000 ad campaign aired by the anti-tax group Club For Growth, and faced new scrutiny by the media of his Arkansas record on such issues as pardons.
He still ranks tops among Iowa Republicans who rank values and family issues their top concerns. But while the ordained Baptist preacher still leads among the state’s influential evangelical Christians, he’s lost 8 points among them.
The above quote, from the McClatchy-MSNBC poll, which has sample size too small to kick-off a blog-o-sph-elabration of Huck’s demise, does show what many have known all along: the race is very much open. With the exception of Thompson (of top-tier candidates). I think it’s futile to think Thompson could win Iowa no matter what poll you look at.
Real Clear Politics’ top five polls list Huckabee in the lead in three, second in one and Romney in the lead in one, tied in one and second in three.
McCain is tied in one, and third in three. Thompson is virtually eliminated there. On paper, he should be right there. He’s a candidate many conservatives could get behind. Most bloggers agree that Thompson simply waited too late to get in the race resulting in lost time and money, which in the political world, corresponds to votes.
Click to enlarge (Image courtesy of AdvanceUSA)
Typically, the Republican candidate is anointed by the party long before now and the primaries are simply a formality. On paper, I don’t recall an election prior to now with such distinguishable differences in Republican candidates. The Democrat party has near unanimous harmony with the issues this year. Whomever is the best salesperson will win their nomination.
The Republican nomination will most likely be won by Huckabee, McCain, or Romney, any of whom would be better than a pro-abortion Rudy. Most evangelicals, who have been crucial to Republican victories in the last two elections, would vote for any of these should they win the nomination. I think the Values Voter Summit in October was a catalyst for Huckabee and Romney and marked the beginning of Giuliani’s downfall.
I think Huckabee has responded well to the flurry of mostly unfair criticism flung his way by the media and conservative bloggers alike. He is retaining the majority of the support that he worked hard to win and he is standing behind many of his decisions and statements providing ample, conservative reasoning for them. Those who continue to pile on, are doing so in large part, out of sheer stubbornness and/or ignorance.
I have to wonder, though, if Huckabee does win the nomination, will these moderate conservative critics of his join him and vote for him? Or will they jump ship and vote for their own third party candidate? Or worse, as some have oddly indicated, actually vote for Hillary.