The Birmingham News reports a new poll showing Huckabee in the top-tier in Alabama. Huckabee (17%) is virtually tied for first place with Giuliani and Thompson, and far ahead of McCain (9%) and Romney (5%):
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has pushed his way into the small pack of leading Republican presidential contenders favored by Alabamians, according to a new poll.
Huckabee, who recently has gained more national attention with his campaign, was favored by 17 percent of likely Republican voters, up from 9 percent and 2 percent in the October and September polls.
Huckabee is now statistically even with former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said Gerald W. Johnson, director of the polling center. "Alabamians reflect national trends. We are not some aberration here in the South,"he said.
Jess Brown, political science professor at Athens State University, said Huckabee's rise doesn't surprise him. He said Huckabee has been able to appeal to both the business and social conservative sides of the Republican Party.
Thompson got the nod from 22 percent of likely voters and 20 percent favored Giuliani. Sen. John McCain of Arizona got 9 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 5 percent. Other candidates totaled 6 percent, and 21 percent said they didn't know for whom they would vote.