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Huckabee Takes First Lead In Iowa

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Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has taken his first lead in a public poll of GOP Iowa caucus voters, according to a survey of 839 likely caucus participants conducted November 26-27 by Rasmussen.

While still within the margin of error, Mitt Romney now trails Huckbaee 28 to 25 percent. A Rasmussen poll taken two weeks prior found Romney with a 29 to 16 percent lead over Huckabee. Romney has led the GOP field in almost all public polls conducted in Iowa since June 2007.

In the new Rasmussen poll, it is currently a two-person race for the GOP in the Hawkeye State, with Rudy Giuliani trailing by double digits at 12 percent, followed by Fred Thompson at 11 percent and Ron Paul at 5 percent. John McCain—who is focusing his efforts on South Carolina and New Hampshire—has now fallen into a sixth place tie with Tom Tancredo at 4 percent. Duncan Hunter rounds out the field with 1 percent support while 10 percent are undecided.

Romney's campaign strategy hinges on winning the early, smaller states of Iowa and New Hampshire (where he is still polling with a double-digit lead) to increase his momentum and the accompanying positive media exposure that he hopes will boomerang him into competitive runs in Michigan, Nevada, South Carolina, and Florida. If Romney does not win the majority of these states, which hold their contests in mid- to late January, the fear for the Romney campaign is that Giuliani (the national frontrunner) will be able to hang on and amass a big win on Super Tuesday on February 5th.

Huckabee's surge in recent weeks has taken most pundits by surprise, and few have outlined a strategy where the former minister can go on to win the Republican nomination. The strategy, however, is this: Huckabee, who surprisingly has not won the endorsements of most prominent conservative religious leaders, is now starting to poll stronger in southern states. Huckabee polled in second place (17 percent) in the latest Insider Advantage poll in Florida and polled in double digits in recent Rasmussen and SurveyUSA polls in South Carolina. Huckabee's competitiveness in these southern states appears to be correlated with the declining support for Fred Thompson.

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Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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