Two months ago no one outside of Arkansas or Iowa had any idea who Mike Huckabee was-and even in Iowa he was in third place with a measly 10%. It’s amazing what can change in two months. With virtually no money, little organization, and almost complete focus on Iowa, Mike Huckabee has exploded onto the national scene. One excellent commercial with a celebrity endorsement, a very likable personality who excels at debate, and a steadfast strategy has taken him from nobody, to legitimate contender for the Republican nomination.
Huckabee is currently 2nd in national polls, behind only Rudy Guliani by an average of 3-6%. One thing past elections have shown is that early wins and momentum are huge factors. A win in Iowa often bounces a candidate extra points in all the following states, and if a front runner struggles early, he may rapidly lose support in states he previously had a strong margin in.
Recent polls show Huckabee is beginning to catch up in states, as well, even with only a couple national debate showings at this point. Polls show that not only has Mike Huckabee opened up a considerable lead in Iowa (which is utterly devastating to Mitt Romney’s campaign), but he also leads all Republican candidates in South Carolina and Georgia. South Carolina is considered by many to be the first serious “swing” state, where a win there is genuine momentum to whoever wins it.
He is also gaining heavy ground in Wisconsin and Florida. Huckabee has gone from unknown in both states in low single digits to 3rd in Florida at 13%, and to 2nd in Wisconsin at 20%, only about 3% behind the front runner Guliani. Florida is also interesting because wins in Iowa and South Carolina could potentially give him another “bounce” that would effect Florida and Wisconsin.
With the recent series of scandals around Guliani, Huckabee has a chance to really make a move. He needs more national exposure, needs someone to come in with some major funding, and if he can hold the leads he has, the bounce could be enough to really push him up there–especially if he crushes Iowa.
Another factor in this is Senator Fred Thompson. Most of the votes going to the senator, who has failed to be the “next Ronald Reagan,” are votes that either won’t go to another candidate, or will go mostly to Huckabee. If Thompson drops out early, that would give Huckabee an additional boost that could help push him over the top.
Now that Huckabee is catching up to Guliani nationally, this could allow him the fund raising and the legitimacy he needs in order to steal some major states early-and the past has shown that early momentum can swing later states by a full 20-30%, so winning Iowa, South Carolina, Georgia, and stealing either Wisconsin, Michigan, or Florida could be enough to sling shot him to the nomination. For more information on how this came about, including Huckabee debate clips, the Chuck Norris commerical, and other great information (not to mention a clip of Governor Huckabee playing “Free Bird” on electric guitar) visit the site here for a great mix of information and clips.