Thursday, November 15, 2007

Can Huckabee Win Iowa?

Soren offers an excellent analysis of what's happening in Iowa, and what might happen between now and the caucus. As we enter deeper into the holiday season, caucus-goers might typically be expected to pay less attention to this race. But with the vote so hotly contested, and so many candidates desirous of seeing Romney beaten -- and not really trying to win themselves -- it seems entirely feasible that Huckabee could pull ahead.

That probably isn't the best outcome for Fred Thompson, who is my favored candidate. If Huckabee pulls off an upset, that becomes the major story from Iowa. I believe that Thompson is likely to need Romney to score an unimpressive win (implying a strong finish by Huckabee), then manage to score an impressive third -- or even second -- himself. That seems likely to make him the lead story coming out of Iowa, and give him the boost he needs to get past New Hampshire to South Carolina.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from Soren's commentary -- which you should read in its entirety:

The numbers suggest something more. Huckabee is way out ahead of Mitt Romney on "is a conservative", abortion, and "shares my values." But on "agree on issues", immigration, and "right experience", Huckabee is struggling places.

I suspect that the "issues" thing is really about taxes. There has been a lot of mail going out, phone calls, and people have run ads against Huckabee. Huckabee’s experience number can be moved with some good bio ads.

I am however, struck by Romney’s abortion number. This confirms the word on the street from Iowa. Romney’s voter base is the country-clubbers...

So Huckabee has room to go positive and drive his numbers more. Of course, not just the guys that write happy are reading these polls. I would expect some interest groups or 527s whacking away at Romney in Iowa. NRLC’s endorsement suggests to me that they would do that. But something seems clear. Abortion talk may not drive Romney’s numbers down. Attacking him on immigration and his trustworthiness (flip-flopper?) might work.

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