The Romney campaign is starting to flatline:
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has vaulted over his major GOP challengers to take a commanding lead in the race to win the Iowa caucuses, while Barack Obama continues to edge ahead of Hillary Clinton among Democrats likely to participate, a new NEWSWEEK poll shows.
The most dramatic result to come out of the poll, which is based on telephone interviews with 1,408 registered Iowa voters on Dec. 5 and 6, is Huckabee’s emergence from the shadows of the GOP race into the front runner’s spot in just two months. The ordained Southern Baptist minister now leads Romney by a two-to-one margin, 39 percent to 17 percent, among likely GOP caucus-goers. In the last NEWSWEEK survey, conducted Sept. 26-27, Huckabee polled a mere 6 percent to Romney’s 25 percent, which then led the field.
But what about the speech? I mean Hugh Hewitt James Dobson, Michael Medved, and Dennis Prager all thought it was the Beehive State’s knees. Well, I’m glad you asked:
Questions about religion—in particular skepticism about Romney’s Mormonism—appeared to play a role in the latest results on the GOP side. The survey was completed on the day of the former Massachusetts governor’s much-heralded speech in College Station, Texas, addressing his religion, though most respondents probably had not heard it. Still, only a small number of the 540 Republican voters surveyed in Iowa (10 percent) said they wanted to hear more from Romney about that issue, and close to half (46 percent) said at least some Iowa Republican voters will not consider supporting Romney because of his Mormon faith. More than a quarter (27 percent) said they don’t consider Mormons to be Christians, and one in six (16 percent) said they are less likely to support Romney because he is a Mormon.
Mary Katherine Muppetmouth blames it on the press:
But you gotta wonder if the good reviews of bloggers and columnists and the message of the speech itself will be heard by regular voters over the din of the media’s Mormon-centric repackaging of the speech. Mitt calculated it would.
…and Mitt was wrong, it seems.
So now rich man fanciers Hugh Hewitt and Larry Kudlow are all hot and huckabothered by Candidate Mike and turn their knives on him:
LK: Regarding Governor Huckabee, Governor Huckabee is a very interesting guy who is not running as the kind of traditional, free-trade, cut taxes, limit government, supply side conservative. He is not. And we walked through a whole bunch of things on trade and China and taxes, and also, he just blurted out CEO pay, which he violently disagrees with. And in fact, he said he would…he doesn’t want to regulate it, but he said at one point he would regulate CEO pay as a last resort.
LK: I thought that was very important. He’s very biased against China trade. He’s skeptical. He says the middle class is in trouble. He didn’t acknowledge the prosperity. I really asked him about today’s excellent jobs report, and the general prosperity we’re enjoying. He didn’t want to go there.
HH: You know, Larry, last night I watched Glen Beck as I was preparing to give a speech. I’m told it was a replay of a Huckabee interview. But what I heard last night, he was talking about the ruling class in America.
HH: You know that’s populism, Huey Long yahooism.
HH: That’s not the Republican Party.
LK: Nope. It’s interesting to me, because I mean, I said are you a pessimist, I say you sound pessimistic on the campaign trail. And he said I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist. And I think he’s the only candidate, Hugh, who is acknowledging these middle class anxieties, almost reaching out to them. He doesn’t have a solution except to curb trade. But he’s really playing to that, in that sense, just like the Democrats are. And the thing is, you have to look at this in a serious vane(sic), because he’s doing so well in the polls. I mean, it would seem that the more his message gets out, the better he’s doing. And I find that quite troubling, but I think that’s the reality.
Tell me how can a rich man stands such times and live?