New Florida poll: Clinton leads all Republicans

Survey USA came out with a new poll from Florida moments ago, and it has good news for Democrats (this in the heels of some other great polls, like yesterday's national Pew poll).

Full news roundup and poll numbers available here, at Campaign Diaries.
 

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Mike Huckabee: Mr. October

October's been good to Mr. Huckabee. As you can see from the Rasmussen Reports Daily tracking poll results, to which he's just been added, Huckabee has doubled his level of support nationally over the course of the month and is now essentially tied for third with McCain and Romney; as Jerome wrote on Sunday, from Rasmussen's perspective, Huckabee is now considered top tier.

Whereas most other national polling still has Huckabee in single digits, one place where polls agree Huckabee is playing with the big boys is in Iowa where yesterday's ARG poll has him in second place, 8 points behind Romney. While his poll numbers haven't moved appreciably since rising into the double digits at the beginning of October (until the ARG poll that is, which looks like it may exaggerate his support somewhat,) the trajectory of his standing in the race throughout October has been a clear one: he moved ahead of McCain to tie Thompson, he moved ahead of Thompson to tie Giuliani and now, if ARG is to be believed, he's moved ahead of Giuliani into second place. As a result, the markets are bullish on Huckabee's chances in Iowa (InTrade currently considers him the second most likely winner of the Iowa caucuses, albeit a distant second to Romney) and so are local opinionmakers.

David Yepsen of The Desmoines Register wrote in a column yesterday:

In recent days, that talk has escalated to a new level of buzz: Huckabee's doing so well in Iowa, he just might be able to win the Iowa Republican caucuses.

Wow. Conventional wisdom dictates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's going to win Iowa. Ever since that straw poll, the buzzmeisters have slotted Huckabee to take second or third. To suggest he's going to win Iowa is taking it to a new level.

Which led TPM's Election Central to reach out to a top Iowa Republican for confirmation:

"Can he win Iowa? Oh, yeah," Chuck Laudner, the executive director of the Iowa state GOP, told Election Central. "He's running in a strong second position right now. It's not out of the realm of possibility at all."

Asked to assess Huckabee's chances of winning, Laudner said: "I'd say somewhere around 30 percent."

The most interesting thing about Huckabee's rise is what Jerome mentioned on Sunday, the fact that while grassroots conservatives seem to be embracing him, the grasstops are less comfortable with him, primarily for fiscal reasons.

From The Washington Times:

[Phyllis] Schlafly, one of the most respected leaders in the social-conservative movement, has accused Mr. Huckabee of "destroying" the conservative movement in Arkansas and leaving the GOP "in shambles." She says many of the evangelical Christians who "sold" social conservative voters on President Bush in 2000 are now "trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."

Critics want to block consideration of Mr. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, as a running mate for Rudolph W. Giuliani, the pro-choice former New York mayor, or for Mitt Romney, a Mormon and former Massachusetts governor.

Most annoying to some conservatives are Mr. Huckabee's positions on immigration. For many Republicans, immigration is the deal-breaker in judging which candidate is worthy of support.

This suspicion of Huckabee within conservative circles may explain why his second place win in the Iowa straw poll didn't result in a big wave of money from major GOP donors, but just as his rising support appears to be a grassroots driven phenomenon, so, apparently, is his fundraising which has picked up to the point that his fundraising goal (by Wednesday at midnight) is to have raised more online in October than he did all 3rd quarter: $1,034,487. According to his website's blog, he's less than $20,000 away from that goal. $1 million online alone in one month is no joke.

Things may be picking up for Huckabee at just the right time and while it may not be enough to win Iowa, a strong second would be akin to a win for his underdog campaign. The more Huckabee raises and the more he rises in the polls, the more we're going to see what appears to be nothing less than a revolt against the conservative think tank class, which at the very least is going to be an entertaining spectator sport for the next few months; at the most, come Spring we could be running against candidate Huckabee.

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NJDC GOP Halloween Cartoon

Happy Halloween!  We wanted to have a little fun, while getting out the message about the GOP candidates ...

We have the supporting research and a full-size PDF for printing on our blog ... http://njdc.typepad.com/njdcs_blog/2007/ 10/new-njdc-cartoo.html

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Running Against Hillary

How old is this getting?

"I'm often asked, `Do you think you can win, particularly against Hillary?,'" [Mike Huckabee] said. "Folks, may I suggest to you I've been battling against the headwinds of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's political machine in Arkansas more than anybody else running for president. I didn't just win once, not twice, not three times, but four times in a statewide election against the Clinton political machine. Bill Clinton and Hillary campaigned against me every time I ever ran, and I won and they didn't."

And...

Giuliani opened with a quote Clinton had given to the Des Moines Register, in which she said -- as she has done in the past -- that she would send envoys abroad the day after she was elected president." The day after I'm elected, I'm going to be asking distinguished Americans of both political parties to travel around the world on my behalf with a very simple message to the governments and the people alike: The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

But quoting an expert from that Des Moines Register article, Giuliani said that Clinton's action would seriously undermine the authority of the sitting president of the United States and possibly set a dangerous precedent. "The danger is that you have two presidents conducting foreign policy, one with all the power and no moral authority, and one with no power," he said, quoting James Lindsay, director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. "Presidents-elect should not exercise their authority before they have it."

It's no secret that the Republican presidential candidates have been running against Hillary Clinton for months now, preferring to cast her as their presumed 2008 opponent both to rally the base and to make the case that they're best prepared to battle her (an electability argument works a lot better if you define who you're going up against.)

But this strategy may just be even more insidious. As Digby sees it, the Republicans aren't merely casting Clinton as the 2008 Democratic nominee, they're also running against her as though she's the incumbent, making the Republicans, as bizarre as it sounds, the agents of change.

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but George W. Bush is being disappeared from the presidential campaign and everyone's running against incumbent Hillary Clinton. Subtly, but relentlessly, the public psyche is being prepared to deny Junior ever existed. And it could work. For many different reasons, most Americans want nothing more than to forget George W. Bush was ever president. So, we see a very odd subliminal narrative taking shape in which the blame for the nation's failures of the last seven years is being shifted to Clinton (and the "do-nothing" Democratic congress) as if the Codpiece hasn't been running things since 2000. [...]

It's an interesting phenomenon and one for which I hope the Democratic strategists are prepared. Their underlying theme seems to be, "If you want change, vote Republican!"

Indeed, unlike on the GOP side, the Democratic nomination fight has been largely free of any discussion of the Republican candidates. I'm not sure why this is. Is it the fear that railing against them legitimizes them? Clearly the Democrats would prefer to wait until the nominees are determined before wasting precious time attacking candidates who may not even be around next fall, but as Digby reminds us, there is a benefit to establishing a narrative about the opposing party early. As I've written before, I wish Democrats would do more to tie all of the GOP candidates to Bush, making the case that a vote for any of them would be akin to voting for Bush's third term. Instead, the Republicans are pretending Bush doesn't exist and, if we're not careful they just may get voters, on some strange subconscious level, to believe it.

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Huckabee in the first tier for GOP

It's time to take Mike Huckabee serious. Rasmussen is going to start adding him to their daily tracking numbers tomorrow. They released a tracking poll on Friday that showed him moving into the first tier:

Giuliani     20
Thompson     19
Undecided    18
McCain       14
Huckabee     12
Romney       11
That would suggest that the GOP race is really amidst another shake-up, as the previous week's Rasmussen poll released last monday showed these results:
Giuliani     25
Thompson     19
Romney       15
McCain       12
Huckabee      8
The Huckabee surge over the past 3 months has been tracked by Rasmussen going from 0 to 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, and 8 last week. Tomorrow, Huckabee will be in double-digits and ahead of Romney nationally.

Huckabee's campaign seems much smarter than your average GOP campaign in their embrace of the web. In fact, though it's not that phenomenal platform-wise, you can see from their website and blog that their team understands how to engage their base of activists. Even though its theocons instead of progressives, it's simplicity reminds me of the use of the medium by Dean's campaign in '03.

Huckabee's blog has chosen Digg as their socnet platform to push content out to, has an impressive grassroots "bloggers for Huckabee" blogroll that they use the blog to grow, and has posts that are plausibly by the candidate. By all means, it appears like an online blogosphere[see godbloggers] has developed for Huckabee which the campaign is encouraging. The small-donor army of Christian donors brought into the GOP by Reagan and Robertson are what revolutionized direct-mail for the RNC in the 1980's, and it appears as though Huckabee is going to be the beneficiary of their finally becoming an internet donor force.

Update [2007-10-29 1:21:50 by Jerome Armstrong]:: The NYT's has a long piece out today on the evangelical movement and whether it's breaking apart, with Huckabee being the one that could hold it together?

“They finally have the soldier they have been waiting for, and they shouldn’t send me out into the battlefield without supplies,” Huckabee told me in exasperation. He argued that the movement’s leaders would “become irrelevant” if they started putting political viability or low taxes ahead of their principles about abortion and marriage.It looks like theocon grassroots are ahead of their grasstops on going gaga for Huckabee.

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