Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


What Will Stop The Huckabee Surge?

Bookmark and Share

While Mike Huckabee's rise to the top of the Republican polls nationwide and in key states (Iowa, South Carolina, and Michigan) appears unstoppable, this, of course, is not the nature of politics. For example, in the 2004 presidential campaign, the rise and the fall of Howard Dean's candidacy were equally pronounced and swift.

How was Huckabee able to rise in the polls so quickly? Huckabee was polling in the very low single digits through July 2007—along side the likes of Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter. Tancredo and Hunter remain in the low single digits, while Huckabee frequently surpasses 20 percent in statewide and national polls.

Some speculate Huckabee's surge is due to his luring Christian conservatives and evangelicals. This is the 'how' but not the 'why.' Tancredo and Hunter are both staunch conservatives, and Tancredo (along with Huckabee and Sam Brownback) was one of the three Republicans to raise their hand an early 2008 GOP debate indicating that they believe in creationism.

Huckabee was able to move past the lowest-tier in the polls not because his conservative credentials are any more noteworthy than several other lower-tier Republican candidates, but because of his powerful debate performances, and the positive press it garnered. Huckabee's speaking style and cadence is unlike any other of the GOP hopefuls—coming across as natural, steady, sincere, and caring. Huckabee's religious background no doubt has served him well on the campaign trail.

But what could derail the Huckabee train? Most pundits predicting his downfall are pointing to his not-conservative-enough record as Governor of Arkansas—his commutation of prison sentences, his support of giving higher education tuition breaks to the children of illegal aliens, and his tax and spend policies.

This record will certainly not help Huckabee, but it is not his policies that led him to the top of the field to begin with—it is his demeanor and character. It is not, therefore, the attack ads (and one was lanuched this week by Mitt Romney) that will do the most damage to Huckabee; these are expected to surface against any top-tier candidate. It is Huckabee's response to these ads that could hurt him. If Huckabee starts to sound negative—and starts to sound like the other candidates—then his tenuous support will begin to crumble.

An example of what could get Huckabee in trouble is his quote in a New York Times magazine article in which he asks, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" (a not-so-disguised attack on Romney). Republicans, even the evangelical conservatives who have been flocking to his side in recent months, do not want Huckabee The Attack Dog or Huckabee The Intolerant. This is especially so in Iowa (where negative ads by Dick Gephardt during his 2004 presidential run led to a 4th place finish and ended his campaign). How Huckabee handles Romney's attacks will go a long way in defining these next few weeks. Huckabee needs to respond, but he must respond with a positive message to keep his (very positive) image in tact.

Previous post: A Thompson Leads GOP Pack in Wisconsin? (Fred, Not Tommy)
Next post: Obama, Huckabee On Top In Two New Iowa Polls

3 Comments


  • What will stop the surge? Not that policy or ideas ever have anything to do with elections, but if they did, this sums it up pretty well:

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2007_12/012691.php

    From a straight horse race perspective, isn't it a little late in the game for him to have no money?

  • Here are some great excerpts from his 1998 book:

    Abortion, environmentalism, AIDS, pornography, drug abuse, and homosexual activism have fragmented and polarized our communities.

    It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.

    Nothing worse than environmentalism, except for institutionally supported necrophilia.

  • Help us to stop Mike Huckabee! Visit us today and participate in our website! We will previal. StopHuckabeeNow.com

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

    Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting