In a poll released by The Economist this week, Huckabee, McCain and Romney are statistically tied for 3rd place in the nation:
Giuliani 28Among Republicans, Huckabee was viewed as somewhat or very conservative by 73%, closely trailing Thompson by 4 points but ahead of Romney by 4.
Huckabee was described by Republican primary voters as the most honest candidate among the top-tier candidates:
Huckabee 5764% of Republicans said Huckabee says what he believes, compared to just 41% for Romney.
Canada's National Post had a colorfully descriptive piece today on Huckabee:
He's a former 300-pound governor of Arkansas who looks like a bit like Gomer Pyle and plays bass guitar in a rock band that covers Bachman-Turner Overdrive tunes. He denounces "Wall Street Republicans," has been branded a "tax-hike liberal" and has a soft spot for Bill Clinton.
His most famous supporters include mullet-headed TV tough guy Chuck Norris and Ric Flair, a former pro wrestler famous for wearing feather boas and sequined bathrobes into the ring.
So, just what exactly is Mike Huckabee doing in the Republican presidential race? Answer: Running second in Iowa, and scaring the heck out of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Huckabee has clawed his way into the top tier of GOP candidates, and he's done it by running one of the most unconventional presidential campaigns since Ross Perot.
The 52-year-old Arkansan, an ordained Baptist preacher, quotes Biblical passages as easily as he does Aerosmith lyrics.
At a time when Republicans are struggling to find their voice for the post-Bush era, Huckabee preaches a folksy populist message that says poverty, the environment and child hunger should be bedrock conservative issues.
"Huckabee has successfully positioned himself as the choice for Christian conservatives in the state," says Peverill Squire, a University of Iowa political scientist.
"I am not surprised that Huckabee is being well-received by Iowa Republicans, but I am amazed that he has been able to do so well without spending much time or money in the state."