Rasmussen Reports, a top political polling firm, is adding former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to its daily tracking of top tier GOP presidential candidates following a surge that pushed him past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Rasmussen â€“ the nation’s most accurate polling firm during the 2004 presidential election and the only one to project both Bush and Kerry vote totals to within half a percent of their actual outcomes â€“ said today “for the first time ever,” Huckabee moved into the top four.
“Rudy Giuliani remains precariously atop the pack with support from 20 percent of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide. Fred Thompson is close behind at 19 percent while John McCain enjoys a second straight day in third place with 14 percent of the vote,” the report said.
“Huckabee continues to gain ground and is just two points behind McCain at 12 percent. This is the first time all year that Huckabee has surpassed Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor slipped another point and he is now at just 11 percent nationally,” Rasmussen said.
Is Huckabee turning into the John Kerry of 2008? That is, does Giuliani have the nomination “in the bag” like Howard Dean did only to be upset by an underdog like Huckabee?
I think the problem for Huckabee is that he’s got Romney and Thompson who could easily be that upset over Giuliani instead of him.
Either way, this is big news for Huckabee.
Huckabee’s honeymoon over?
Mr. Huckabee attributes his support to the fact he is a “hardworking, consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions.” He is certainly qualified for national office, having served nearly 11 years as a chief executive. I have known and liked him for years; on the stump he often tells the story of how we first met outside his boarded-up office in the state Capitol, which had been sealed by Arkansas Democrats who refused to accept he had won an upset election for lieutenant governor in 1993. But I also know he is not the “consistent conservative” he now claims to be.
Nor am I alone. Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once “his No. 1 fan.” She was bitterly disappointed with his record. “He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal,” she says. “Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don’t be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office.”
Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. “He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles,” she says. “Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a ‘compassionate conservative’ are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee.”
So Giuliani’s a fiscal conservative, social liberal, and Huckabee appears to be the opposite. Will Huckabee now experience the Fred Thompson syndrome of being the conservative darling until a little more information comes out?
We’ll have to see how this plays out. I’m betting that Huckabee will be spinning this kind of record. However, how do you quell conservatives from Arkansas so eager to spill the beans on his record?