Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Huckabee's Odds

Mike Huckabee's campaign must be heartened by last night's Des Moines Register's poll numbers. Huckabee has surged mainly because he's very likeable, uses populist rhetoric, and has been relatively unvetted. That last is changing, but he may still retain a lead come Thursday.

The problem for his campaign is, he will need to take a lead into the caucuses in order to win. He does have the advantage that his supporters could be more excited about voting for him than his opponents (except Ron Paul). But will he get them out to vote?

My personal dealings with his campaign have been less than impressive. Iowa director Eric Woolson seems a good human being with knowledge of how things work here, but they operated long with a skeletal staff, both here and in Arkansas. They've added staff since the surge, and the growing pains show.

I've called the campaign office and gotten bad information from staff more than once. Despite several attempts I haven't been able to get onto the campaign's e-mail tree. And as of this moment, his main Iowa Web page hasn't been had its events schedule updated past December 20th.

There is little evidence the campaign will have a strong get-out-the-vote effort. The Romney campaign gives off the opposite vibe, one that has been fine-tuning itself for many months, has dropped bales of money on the state, and is a well-oiled machine. One would think that even if Romney's supporters are less enthusiastic, his campaign will bring out all they can.

Huckabee has done almost nothing to downgrade his expectations, while Romney has for weeks been saying he just needs to finish in the top three.

It will be one of those surreal political moments if Romney beats Huckabee by a few points on Thursday and, despite outspending Huckabee many times over in any resource you can name, comes out with the media calling it a big win.

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