by Todd Beeton, Thu Nov 29, 2007 at 01:11:03 AM EST
I'm intrigued by the Insider Advantage insta-polls taken after the debate by 1,035 registered Republicans in Iowa and 341 undecided Republicans in Florida who said they watched Wednesday night's debate (h/t Pollster.) Because of polling rules, the participants dialed into the poll, not vice versa (hence, caveats apply) but these results are about as unambiguous as they come.
For me, it was a no-brainer. In fact, during the debate I was inspired to call my Republican parents to see if they were watching (my Dad had previously expressed enthusiasm for Huckabee.) They weren't. I went on to tell my Mom that if I were a Republican (she laughed) and I was watching the debate, I just don't see how you vote for anyone but Huckabee. He answered questions directly with a combination of humor and emotional resonance that almost had me convinced he could sell a tax hike and free college for illegal immigrants to a wingnut. The reason everyone else on that stage should be scared of Huckabee is that any positive qualities each of them is known for, whether rightfully or not, he actually possesses. Romney's slickness, except without the fakery; Thompson's good ole Southern boy charm except without the need to call "line" during every answer; McCain's straight talk that actually is; and Giuliani's apparent conviction and refusal to pander.
Now don't get me wrong, I actually don't think on the merits that Huckabee is a mainstream candidate, but his powers of persuasion seemed pretty powerful. The big question of course is did anyone watch? If they did, I'd be willing to bet Huckabee's chances of securing the nomination increased significantly. It didn't hurt that a particularly mushy-mouthed Romney might as well have just invited Huckabee to steal the nomination from him.
An even more intriguing aspect of this Insider Advantage poll, though, is what happened in the room when Huckabee was informed that he'd won the debate according to poll respondents. This is the description, caps are theirs (I'll spare you the bold face.)
NOTE: OUR CAMERAS CAPTURED AN ALTERCATION WHICH OCCURRED WITHIN FEET OF GOVERNOR HUCKABEE AND WHICH CAUSED SECURITY TO BE SUMMONED. WE WILL BE POSTING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AN UNEDITED VERSION OF OUR LIVE COVERAGE WHICH WILL INCLUDE THE ALTERCATION, AS WELL AS REACTION FROM GOVERNOR HUCKABEE UPON LEARNING OF THE RESULTS OF THE POLLS AS WELL AS AN INTERVIEW WITH HUCKABEE SUPPORTER CHUCK NORRIS. WE WILL POST A CONSTANT CONTACT WHEN THE VIDEO IS AVAILABLE.
Very strange. If it's even half as intriguing in reality as it sounds, I'll follow up once the video is up. In the meantime, I think it's safe to say that exactly one guy on that stage had an exceptional night. The big question that remains: will it matter?
Update [2007-11-29 6:13:23 by Todd Beeton]: Oh and by the way, this may be the first and last time that 1,000 Iowa Republicans and the DailyKos community agree on something.