UPDATE: Huckabee remains in the #1 spot in Rasmussen's daily tracking poll for Thursday:
In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, Mike Huckabee retains a three-point edge with support from 21% of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide while Rudy Giuliani is the top choice for 18%. Mitt Romney earns 12% while Fred Thompson and John McCain each attract 11%. Ron Paul is the only other candidate with measurable support and he currently attracts 8% of Likely Republican Primary voters nationwide.Also, the latest Hitwise data shows mikehuckabee.com web traffic is unmatched by any top-tier GOP candidates. Ron Paul hangs on to a narrow lead (37% to Huckabee's 36%), with none of the other candidates even reaching double digits. When the Dems are added to the mix, Huckabee trails Ron Paul by less than 1 percent, but has nearly double the traffic of Obama and triple that of Senator Clinton.
The Washington Post comments on the Democrats' fear of a Huckabee nomination:
Mike Huckabee's rapid rise in the Republican presidential race is prompting concern among some Democratic strategists who believe that the former Arkansas governor could become a daunting general election foe should he secure the GOP nomination.A California poll from Survey USA shows Huckabee tied for 3rd place:
These operatives believe that Huckabee's profile -- former Baptist minister, southern governor, fitness preacher -- and self-effacing style on the stump could prove an appealing combination for moderate and independent voters.
"Mike Huckabee is the Republican that probably worries me the most," said Wooten Johnson, a Democratic strategist based in Louisiana. "Unlike the other Republicans, he isn't flawed in the eyes of the Republican base. But more importantly, he has a record of being a true compassionate conservative. He will be able to attract those suburban voters that don't want to vote for [a] Democrat."
John Anzalone, a Democratic pollster based in Alabama, offered a similar sentiment about Huckabee: "He is the type of person who plays well in both a People Magazine profile, on Leno and in debates," said Anzalone. "Real people seem to see a bit of themselves in Huck, and I think he will be difficult to demonize."
Anzalone added that while he was not "terrified" of a Huckabee candidacy, he could "see [the former governor] hitting a chord with the public beyond primary voters."
For months, Democrats have been game-planning for what a general election would look like against one of four possible candidates: Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson. But Huckabee's recent surge in (and nationally) has forced Democrats to consider the prospect of facing off against him next November.
Giuliani 322 new polls from Quinnipiac show Huckabee climbing in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania:
Rudy Giuliani 29% (27%)
John McCain 13% (12%)
Mike Huckabee 10% (7%)
Mitt Romney 7% (11%)
Fred Thompson 7% (13%)
Ron Paul 4% (2%)
Rudy Giuliani 27% (29%)
Mike Huckabee 13% (6%)
John McCain 13% (12%)
Mitt Romney 6% (7%)
Fred Thompson 6% (11%)
Ron Paul 4% (4%)