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The Huckabee Surge Is Real

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Mike Huckabee's second place finish in the August 2007 Republican Iowa Straw Poll was largely dismissed at the time, due to the non-participation in the event by three of the leading GOP candidates—Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson (who hadn't yet announced his candidacy at that time).

But Huckabee received some good press for a week and the former Arkansas governor noticed a bump in some state polls shortly thereafter; for example, his support in New Hampshire jumped from 1 percent in late July to 9 percent in late August in an American Research Group (ARG) survey. In Iowa, his numbers also increased from the low single digits to 8 percent (Zogby, August 2007; Los Angeles Times, September 2007) and 14 percent (ARG, August 2007).

Huckabee's support nationally has also been on the rise, according to some pollsters. Rasmussen has measured his support in the double digits throughout the past week in its daily tracking poll, with the former Arkansas Governor currently at 13 percent—just 4 points behind Thompson and 10 points behind Giuliani.

Huckabee's excellent performances in televised debates have certainly helped sustain these numbers—the Baptist minister's tone is well mannered enough to come off as above politics, yet his choice of words delineates his policy positions with clarity, revealing to his Republican audience that he is a man of conviction (unlike the perception of other leading candidates who have been portrayed as flip-floppers (e.g. Romney, Giuliani)).

Mitt Romney has surprised many pundits by leading in Iowa and New Hampshire polls through the past several months, and now also leads in another important early primary state—South Carolina (29 percent, ARG, October 2007). But Romney's support, unlike Huckabee, is correlated to multi-million dollar ad campaigns in these early primary states; Huckabee's campaign isn't nearly as flush.

But Huckabee's numbers are still on the rise in the Hawkeye State, as demonstrated in three recent October Iowa polls: 18 percent (3rd place) in a Rasmussen survey, 13 percent (tied for 2nd) in a University of Iowa survey, and now 19 percent (2nd place) in the latest ARG poll, conducted October 26-29 of 600 likely Republican caucus voters.

In the ARG poll, Romney still leads the way at 27 percent, followed by Huckabee at 19 percent, Giuliani at 16 percent, McCain at 14 percent (his highest numbers since July), Fred Thompson at 8 percent, Tom Tancredo at 2 percent, and Ron Paul at 1 percent. Thirteen percent of Republican caucus-goers were undecided.

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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