A second national poll from the LA Times/Bloomberg shows Huckabee in 2nd place:
A new national Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll released a minute ago reveals that the Mike Huckabee phenomenon has exploded far beyond Iowa; the former Arkansas governor is now threatening the national lead of longtime Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani.All of these strong poll numbers have pushed Huckabee's Real Clear Politics poll average 3 points ahead of Romney and less than 1/2 of a percentage point behind McCain and Thompson.
The new numbers -- 17% for Huckabee and 23% for Giuliani -- show a steep slide by the former New York mayor since October's poll (when he had 32%) and a more than doubling of Huckabee support from 7% back then. This could mean the conservative religious vote, variously estimated at 20% to 40% of the Iowa caucuses, appears to be congregating around the genial Arkansan, who until now has lagged in fundraising. Such encouraging results may help donations now.
Besides Giuliani at 23% and Huckabee at 17% (the same percentage as Don't Know), the GOP field spreads out with Fred Thompson at 14%, John McCain at 11%, Mitt Romney still struggling nationally at 9%, Ron Paul at 5%, Duncan Hunter at 3% and Tom Tancredo at 0%.
Time magazine reports on some key new Iowa endorsements:
Huckabee has consolidated the support of influential religious conservatives, primarily by reaching out to a network of pastors across the state. He spoke privately Monday night to several hundred gathered in Des Moines for a conference, the only presidential candidate to do so.Bill Kristol from the Weekly Standard comments on Huckabee's chances to win the nomination:
He appeared with more than 60 Iowa pastors endorsing him at a news conference Tuesday, including best-selling author Tim LaHaye of "Left Behind" fame and his wife, Beverly. Also endorsing him was Chuck Hurley, an influential Iowa conservative who had backed Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative who quit the race in October.
LaHaye called Huckabee "the most electable candidate who shares our commitment."
Everyone knows Huckabee has been surging in Iowa. But some people seem to assume that Huckamania is confined to Iowa. Not so. I've seen two national polls of the Republican race since Thanksgiving.And a new Florida poll from Survey USA has Huckabee in second place with 18%:
In both polls, Huckabee moved from last to second during November. In both polls, all the other four leading candidates lost ground.
Huckabee's surge, if uncontested, is likely to continue for at least a while. One question is, which one (or possible two) of the other candidates can reverse his downward trend, create his own surge, and pick up some momentum? The other question is, can any of them afford to go negative against Huckabee? On the one hand, going negative usually has at least a short-term negative effect on the negative-goer. On the other hand, if Huckabee wins December as he did November, he'll probably win the nomination.