A new Florida poll from the St. Petersburg Times has Huckabee in fourth place at 9%, ahead of Thompson at 8%, and close behind McCain at 12%.
The Washington Post features a conversation about Huckabee with popular Iowa senator Charles Grassley:
In 1996, Bob Dole credited Charles Grassley's endorsement as a key reason that he won the Iowa caucus and clinched the Republican presidential nomination.The Observer also has a good piece today about how Huckabee could be the saviour of the Republicans:
This year, the popular veteran Iowa senator said he may skip picking a favorite, because he's skeptical that any Republican in the field can put away Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Like many of his GOP friends, Grassley believes she can be defeated, and with greater ease than some other Democrats in the field. But Grassley is still waiting for Mr. Right. "I want to know who can beat Hillary," Grassley said over a breakfast fit for the farmer that he is - three eggs, four sausages, and five pancakes.
There is a darkhorse candidate in the GOP field. "I think the guy who could surprise everybody is Huckabee," Grassley said, referring to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a second-tier candidate with minimal resources, whose support has been rising. "He seems to be catching on a little bit. His presentations are good. He fits in well with social conservatives."
Huckabee is the guy who matches up best with Iowa Republicans, Grassley said. "It's demeanor, background, personal beliefs, friendliness, stuff like that. How he conducts himself, things of that nature. I'm talking about who fits in with the average Iowan, who are they going to feel comfortable with."
So why not endorse him? Because, Grassley explained, he's not yet a national contender. "If he had $10 million to spend on television, to reinforce what he tells you personally, then I think it would make a difference," Grassley said.
He is a former governor of Arkansas from a town called Hope. He has a nice line in campaign humour and speaks like a Deep South preacher. He is also running for President.Read the whole thing here...
But this is not Bill Clinton of 1992. This is Mike Huckabee, a long-shot Republican contender for the 2008 White House who has burst into the leading pack of the race for his party's nomination.
From barely appearing in the polls a few months ago, Huckabee has surged forward in recent weeks. Some surveys have placed him second in the key state of Iowa, ahead of better-known candidates including Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson. This has led to a flurry of positive press around Huckabee's campaign, including a profile in Newsweek and glowing praise from top political columnists. 'Mike Huckabee is on a roll,' said Dick Morris, a conservative commentator in the political newspaper The Hill. 'Huckabee could surprise everybody before the votes are counted.'
There is little doubt that Huckabee has forced his way into the top tier of Republican candidates. He has done it by representing the most socially conservative wing of the party. A former Baptist minister who used to have his sermons broadcast over his own Christian radio and TV station, he is firmly anti-abortion, regards the Bible as literal truth and does not believe in evolution. Such hardline views are endearing him to the powerful evangelical wing of the Republican party, dismayed by the liberal social views of the national frontrunner, former New York mayor Giuliani.
'Huckabee is the ticking time bomb of the party,' said Professor Cary Covington, a politics expert at the University of Iowa. 'Religious voters are soon going to realise that he is the candidate who best fits their profile and get behind him.'
Huckabee's support has rocketed in Iowa, where evangelical Christians play a significant role. In one recent poll he was at 19 per cent, just eight points behind the leader, Mitt Romney, and three ahead of Giuliani.