Huckabee Now A Problem For Rudy
Earlier this month I said that Rudy was courting trouble by assuming a split evangelical vote benefited him, because he and his friends in the media mistakenly overlook the possibility that evangelicals may reenergize behind a fast-rising Mike Huckabee. Now word comes today that Rasmussen reports Huckabee has caught and passed Mitt Romney in Iowa based on grabbing almost half of the evangelical vote, while Giuliani continues to fall farther behind. Huckabee is gaining on Giuliani in Florida at Thompson’s expense. And in South Carolina, a new poll also shows that Huckabee has shot past Guiliani and McCain and is now pulling up to Romney and Thompson.
That same South Carolina poll shows that Hillary no longer has a lead over Obama in a race where almost half of the respondents say they are still undecided.
Don't assume for a moment that we will end up with Rudy and Hillary. Yes, both of them are well-funded and set up for the long haul past February 5th, but both assumed that a split field of challengers would fall by the wayside and be put away after the February 5th contests. But if Huckabee corrals a coalescing evangelical bloc, and if Obama wins a couple of the early contests so that his field organization in the 2/5 states can deliver upon early victories and momentum, this race will go well beyond February.
The problem with being a front runner in an elongated campaign is that voters can be wooed to look at new faces if they tire of the familiar and "inevitable".
Hat tip to Taegan Goddard's Political Wire