Friday, January 04, 2008

Huckabee's Spike in Iowa

Mike Huckabee won the secret ballot Republican caucus in Iowa with 35% of the vote. This in a contest where the press reports a surge of self-identified evangelical and born-again religious voters to about 60% of the total vote, or about twice their historic participation rates.

It seems reasonable to suppose that much of that increase was the result of Pastor Huckabee's unique access to the pulpits of Iowa and to the mailing lists that accompany that access. Even with that advantage, though, if both these numbers prove to be correct Gov. Huckabee split the evangelical vote with one or more of the other candidates. Amongst non-evangelical voters, Huckabee scored a 14% share, enough to place 4th or 5th.

It is nearly certain that New Hampshire will provide a different perspective of what Republican primary voters are seeking.

UPDATE: Commentators, including Michael Medved, have pointed out that exit polls show Huckabee drawing only a plurality of the evangelical vote. Even so, his enhanced margin amongst evangelicals supplied 100% of his margin above Fred Thompson, the third place finisher. Without those votes, Huckabee would be a footnote from Iowa rather than a footnote from New Hampshire.

The Republican nomination is more wide open today than it was a week ago.


Anonymous said...

That Huckabee wouldn't have won without the evangelical vote is a specious argument along the lines of "He wouldn't have won if so many people hadn't voted for him".

Bob Leibowitz said...

I think you're beating a straw man.

No one that I know of is talking about what might have been in Iowa.

The subject is what will be in other states, states without the evangelical concentration.