Telling Poll Numbers from Iowa
However, I don’t believe that Huckabee can take this much farther. His win could very well be a reflection of the distinct nature of Iowa’s GOP voters, as evidenced by Frank Luntz’s segment with a group of them on Fox News on caucus night. Many of them took umbrage with Romney “going negative.” Forget for a moment that Romney’s ads were not negative, they merely contrasted the differences between the two candidates. And, Huckabee pulled a childish stunt saying that he had a negative ad against Romney, but wasn’t going to run it, just to get brownie points. The funny thing is, he did run the ad. Anyway, the real take away from the Luntz segment was the Huckabee supporters identifying with his religion and his values. There is nothing untoward about that. However, it becomes important, as I will point out next.
Exit and entrance polling show that Huckabee’s major source of support came from evangelicals. On the flip side, a very important one if any candidate is to reinvigorate and ignite the other camps of the Reagan coalition, is that Huckabee fared poorly among GOP voters who did not self identify as evangelicals (14%). Furthermore, look at the numbers for the poll question, “How much does it matter to you that a candidate shares your religious beliefs?” They are quite revealing. Under the category, “A great deal” Huckabee wins convincingly over Romney 56% to 11%. That is to be expected. However in the “Somewhat” category his advantage shrinks significantly, 30% for Huckabee, 26% for Romney. The tables completely turn on Huckabee in the categories of “Not much” and “Not at all,” Romney wins 38%-15% and 40%-5% respectively.
Given these numbers, and what we already know about Huckabee, we can see his fatal flaw, and why he won’t win the nomination: Huckabee is not a conservative. Essentially, he is a pro-life Democrat. New Hampshire should prove quite a different experience for Huckabee. Granite State voters prefer their politics to be much more rough-and-tumble, and reflect the other segments of the conservative coalition, more so than the staid evangelical Iowans.
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This is not to say that Romney will win New Hampshire. The door is now open for McCain, Giuliani, and possibly Thompson. But I do believe Romney can win. He certainly will fare much better than Huckabee whose record on taxes and spending, among other policy matters give conservatives pause.
crossposted on The Main Adversary