Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Iowa Republicans: Huckabee on Tonight Show, Romney Rolling along

As we move into the final hours before the Iowa Caucuses the Republican interest is focusing in on Romney and Huckabee. The latest poll from the Desmoines newspaper shows Huckabee with a solid lead, though averaging several recent polls gives puts Romney and Huckabee in a virtual dead heat with Huckabee ahead by a fraction of a percent.

The Republican field is complicated by the fact that national frontrunner Giuliani skipped Iowa completely and John McCain has not compaigned very heard in Iowa - partly because his honest stand against foolish ethanol subsidies made it very hard for him to do much in Iowa. If Huckabee or Romney's campaigns show huge boosts after Iowa this "no Iowa" strategy may be seen as a mistake, but on balance I think this was a good choice for McCain and Giuliani. What is likely is that we'll see the Republican field narrow to three - maybe four candidates after New Hampshire next week. Those are likely to be Huckabee, Romney, McCain, Giuliani.

Huckabee's huge surge over the past few months is the most significant developement in the race. It appears to be a reflection of the desire on the part of many Christian conservative Republicans to have a candidate that strongly supports a pro-Christian, anti-abortion stand that is not seen in the other leading candidates. Money will come into play heavily for Huckabee as he moves to the larger states where campaigns cannot be run as personally as in Iowa, though a win in Iowa woult lead to a significant increase in donations.