On the Republican side, the Hawkeye poll showed that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has widened his overall lead by 8 percentage points, to 36.2%. But Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, has gained ground despite spending just $1.7 million compared to Romney’s $53.6 million. Huckabee is up from less than 2 % in the same poll in August to 12.8%, putting him in a statistical tie for second place with Rudy Giuliani who garnered 13.1%. Giuliani had spent $30.2 million as of September 30, according to Federal Election Commission reports.
“If Huckabee can motivate religious conservatives to attend the caucuses in large numbers, he may well threaten Romney and close some of the overall gap,” said Redlawsk. About 44% of Iowa Republican caucus-goers consider themselves Evangelical or born again.
If this poll is to be believed, it looks like that straw poll “win” really did give him a lift. But even if Huck shows strongly in Iowa, does anybody really think the evangelical vote will carry him to the nomination? It seemed to propel Bush, but there were more forces at work than the religious right in 2000. All Huck would have is the social conservative base.