Last night, Governor Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucuses, besting Governor Mitt Romney by 9 percentage points (34% versus 25%), even though Romney had outspent Huckabee by a 15:1 margin. As Senator John McCain noted, this sends two messages:
1. One cannot buy Iowa (Romney spent an estimated $10MM).
2. Negative attack ads are ineffective, particularly in Iowa.
Joe Carter chimes in with his usual incisiveness, commenting on the CNN entrance polls. Compare the following hard data to what you have relentlessly been told by both the MSM and many conservative pundits:
1. In Vote by Ideology Huckabee took both “Very Conservative” and “Somewhat Conservative” while McCain and Romney split the “Moderate” vote.
2. On the four top issues listed (illegal immigration, war in Iraq, economy, and terrorism) Huckabee had the top percentage.
3. Huckabee took 40% of the female vote–more than Giuliani, Hunter, McCain, Paul, and Thompson combined (34%). (Huckabee also came in first among men.)
4. Huckabee took the top percentage in every category regarding the “Events in Pakistan” (on which he is supposedly inept and unsophisticated).
5. Huckabee took the top percentage in “Feelings About Bush Administration” in every category except “Angry” (which Ron Paul took, naturally).
6. Huckabee took the top percentage in every category “Vote by Income” except “$100,000 or More” (which Romney took, naturally).
7. Huckabee took the top percentage in every region of Iowa.
8. Huckabee took the top percentage in every age category. Get this: Among voters 17-29 years old: Huckabee outperformed Romney, Thompson, McCain, Giuliani and Hunter combined.
Sadly, I must agree with Carter:
“If he had a degree from Yale rather than Ouachita Baptist University, if he spoke with a Midwestern twang rather than a Southern drawl, and if he had spent a decade as an investment banker rather than a pastor then Mike Huckabee would be the Republican establishment’s ‘favorite son’ right now.”
“The point to remember is that all those who dismissed Huckabee as a one-dimensional candidate who appeals exclusively to Evangelicals ought to look closely at the numbers and the enthusiasm he inspired in Iowa.”
“The irony here is that Mitt Romney (a genuinely nice guy, with a winning, affable, good-humored demeanor) could have easily competed with Huck in the niceness department, but his ill-considered consultants pushed him to turn mean – blanketing the state with negative TV ads (he’s doing the same to McCain in New Hampshire) and viciously irresponsible hit pieces in the mail. Didn’t President Reagan, the appropriate inspiration for all present day Republicans, prove once and for all that kindness and good humor work better than anger, edge and gloom?”