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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
posted by jason | 8:05 AM | permalink
I was reading Yepsen's article on how Huckabee could very well win Iowa. I thought for certain a writer such as Yepsen would offer some concrete evidence to explain the assertion that Huckabee could some how unseat Mitt for the top spot in Iowa. Instead we got a litany of folksy stylistic points: Huck's guitar playing abilities, humorous sense of speaking prose and the fact he received a standing ovation at the recent Reagen day dinner. It almost seemed a dumbing down of the Iowa electorate by Yepsen.

Huckabee's rise has been heralded by some as the dark horse coming to town. After the let down you and I call Fred, some are ready for another Dark horse. The MSM is claiming Huckabee status as true contender because "Hey, if we can split the SoCon vote all the better." Rudy lovers seem to be playing the same game because "Hey, if we can split the SoCon vote all the better." Makes one feel like a bit of a tool at the end of the day.

Anyway, with this in mind I decided to dig a little a deeper in the numbers and find out just how fast Huckabee's numbers are really growing. The answer? A little but not really that much.

First lets look at the National Numbers. Huckabee is gaining ground, around 1.5-2% per month. This chart (as are all others) is based upon the RCP numbers.

(V.V. stands for Values Voters Conference. I added this into the chart since many would argue that is were the Huckabee bounce would stem from.)

Let's look at that chart with Giuliani added:

What I find interesting here is that Giuliani's numbers month to month, directly mirror Romney's, yet no grief for Giuliani from the Rudy lovers and MSM. Granted Huckabee can move over Romney quicker in National numbers.

Now lets turn our eyes to the state of Iowa, where many claim Romney needs to win- which I believe he will quite handily.

What is interesting is the fact that when averaged, Romney actually enjoys the larger bounce after the Values Voters summit. Huckabee's rate of growth has actually slowed since then:

Huckabee's loss of momentum could easily be attributed to weakness on immigration and economic factors, despite strong SoCon credentials. Some say no, but these two items rate high for to Iowa voters. Lets look at the recent University Iowa Poll. In order of importance for likely Republican Caucus goers, the most important issues to Iowa voters are:

  1. Terrorism: 21.4%

  2. Economy 15.8%

  3. Iraq War 15.5%

  4. Immigration 13.5%

  5. Health Care 9.5%

  6. Abortion 7.2%

  7. Education 4.0%

  8. Energy Policy 2.9%

  9. Gay Marriage 2.9%

  10. Agriculture Policy 1.4%

  11. Enviroment/Global Warming 1.1%

The number 2 and 4 important items are Huckabee's two greatest weaknesses. Abortion, Huck's strength is number 6. Romney's strengths are 2,4,5 and 8. Gay marriage will be equal, since Huck has always been against it, and Romney has fought it very adamantly- and always stood against it. When you add to Hucks weaknesses on key Iowa issues a lack of serious funding and formal ground organization I fail to see how Huck can capitalize on his strengths in a manner that will cause a huge upswing for him in Iowa.

Going back to the "Changes in Averages Iowa" chart we can see that Huck's rise in the all important early state is dynamically soft. If we average the trends I note in the chart for both Huckabee and Romney, assume the trends will remain static and then project those till January this is how the race will shape:

Now this isn't my prediction, this is a projection based upon current post V.V. trends continuing between Huckabee and Romney in Iowa. This projection would make for a strong a second for Huckabee, but not much more. A strong second place would leave Huckabee out of money and praying for a miracle in South Carolina. anything less and he is done. Huck could end up really making a huge upswing, sometime in between now and January. But with the holidays diverting peoples attention and money, it's tough to see how it will be done. If he hasn't made the leap by Thanksgiving he has no chance at number one in Iowa, and will be relegated to the club of "so close but so far" with a chair next to Brownback.

So in summation, is Huckabee a real threat to Romney's goals? A small one. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being Duncan Hunter and 10 being Rudy Giuliani, he's probably a four with Thompson a three and Ron Paul a two.
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Hugh Hewitt interviewed Huckabee on his radio show today. Many of his listeners were not impressed.

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