We’re all amazed this morning to learn that Mike Huckabee has drawn even with Rudy Giuliani (18% each) in Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll. The others – McCain, Thompson, and Romney – are all hovering in the low to mid teens, essentially in a three-way tie. Huckabee’s performance defies the conventional wisdom, which holds that an obscure former governor of a small Southern state has no chance of hanging in with, much less defeating, the party bigwigs. He has no money, no organization, and most importantly, no permission from the Republican elites.
But there’s a precedent. Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter both fit the same mold. Pouty supporters of the other Republicans probably won’t like the comparison, but the similarities are genuine.
The question about Huckabee has now morphed from “can he?” to “by how much?”! There’s no reason that a conservative with an evangelical background, exceptional oratorical skills, and an engaging personality should settle for squeaking by. The trend is clear: the base is beginning to come to Huckabee. The next question will probably be of a very different nature: If Huckabee is the choice of the Republican Party at large, can he expect the enthusiastic support of the party elites?