Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, buoyed by strong support from Christian conservatives, has surged past three of his better-known presidential rivals and is now challenging former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney for the lead in the Iowa Republican caucuses, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
Huckabee has tripled his support in Iowa since late July, eclipsing former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Huckabee now runs nearly evenly with Romney, the longtime Iowa front-runner.
Huckabee’s rise from dark horse to contender in Iowa is one more unexpected twist in a race that has remained fluid throughout the year and adds another unpredictable element to the competition for the GOP nomination. His support in Iowa appears stronger and more enthusiastic than that of his rivals.
Read the rest here. Romney has an advantage on the question of who has the “best experience to be president,” after a 10-point increase from July, when he was about even with Giuliani and McCain. Romney had held a marginally significant edge on “best understands problems of people like you,” but while he has stayed at 21 percent on this question, Huckabee has soared from 10 percent to 25 percent.
In July, Romney had the lead on “most honest and trustworthy” at 21 percent. He has risen to 25 percent, but Huckabee jumped from 10 percent to 26 percent.