Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Caucuses Today

Not that it is any surprise, if you haven't been living under a rock for the past year. What is itneresting to me is that based on Prediction Markets, which is startlingly accurate, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee look like they could win in Iowa.

Laura Ingraham began her show this morning with a discussion about Mike Huckabee, whose "aw, shucks" down home bonhommie has propelled his assent in Iowa, and what the Republican media and pundits might be missing with this man.

To be sure, Huckabee has some deficiencies (the whole Pakistan gaff, etc.). I have some concerns about his administration as governor of Arkansas, but I would like to point out something, when George W. Bush was heading into Iowa, some people didn't like his personal charm either.

Huckabee is connecting with people and the question to ask is why? I think there are a couple of reasons.

First, he does come across as more casual than the other candidates, more personable. That makes a difference in perception, particularly on a local level appeal like Iowa.

Second, like it or not, faith matters to people, even people who vote Democratic. I don't think that Romney's faith is what turns people off a little about him, but for some reason Huckabee appeals in part because he is very up front about his faith.

Third, Huckabee could be the smartest guy in the room and he doesn't have to rub your face in it. He clearly wants to win the Presidency, but he doesn't have to be obnoxious about it. There is charm and appeal to a man who wants to win, but does so in a humble fashion.

Fourth, and finally, I think Huckabee is truly thankful for all the support he gets. Unlike certain Democratic wannabes, there is no air of inevitability about him. In short, he has fought his way to the top and that makes people more comfortable with the man.

The question for the Huckabee camp is whether they can translate success in Iowa to success in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Huckabee does not have to win both of thsoe states, but he will need to place in the top three in New Hampshire and probably win or come in a close second in South Carolina to survive to Mega-Tuesday.

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