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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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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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