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Friday, January 04, 2008

Huckabee Wins Evangelical Vote . . . Romney Wins Everybody Else

Mike Huckabee won the Iowa Caucuses. In the spirit of graciousness that Mitt Romney exuded last night, Huckabee is to be congratulated. Good job, you won fair and square.

However, in the spirit of an ardent Romney supporter and as someone who likes to look into the detailed demographics of voting/polls, I'd be worried if I were Mike Huckabee.

The New York Times is reporting that OVER 80% of Huckabee caucus supporters described themselves as Evangelical Christians.

Mr. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, rode a crest of evangelical Christian support to victory on Thursday over his rival Mitt Romney, capping a remarkable ascent over the last two months from near the bottom of the Republican field. A poll of people entering the Republican caucuses on Thursday showed more than 8 in 10 of his supporters identified themselves as evangelicals.

The same surveys showed extraordinary turnout among evangelicals, who represented some 60 percent of Republican caucusgoers. In years past, Republican Party leaders in Iowa put evangelical turnout at about 40 percent [actually, this story reports that the 2000 evangelical turnout was 39%].

Mr. Romney’s advisers had been saying that if evangelical turnout rose to more than 50 percent, victory would be impossible for Mr. Romney, whose Mormon faith is regarded as heretical by many evangelicals.
And lead paragraphs like this don't help the image of Huckabee's win here:
DES MOINES — Just as the Republican caucuses began on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., a small group of women and children joined hands in the middle of the ballroom at Mike Huckabee's headquarters here and began to pray for his election.
Now I want to be clear, I love the evangelical community. In the conservative coalition I align myself strongly with Christian conservatism. We all need eachother. And I can definitely see the appeal of Huckabee to Evangelical voters (at least superfiscially, and before a deep probing of him and his campaign).

Going back to the numbers . . . Rich Lowry put it pretty clearly:
Here's one way to look at it: 60% of voters were evangelicals. Huck beat Romney among them 45-19%. 40% weren't evangelicals. Romney beat Huck among them 33-13%.
The breakdown goes as such:


  • Huckabee 46%
  • Romney 19%
  • Thompson 11%
  • Paul 10%
  • McCain 10%
  • Giuliani 2%

Everyone else:

  • Romney 33%
  • McCain 18%
  • Thompson 17%
  • Huckabee 13%
  • Paul 11%
  • Giuliani 6%
So in Iowa, Romney beat Huckabee almost 3 to 1 among non-evangelicals. That doesn't bode well for Huckabee outside of the southern states. What's also encouraging is that Romney came in 2nd place among Evangelicals.

Turnout for the GOP in the Iowa Caucuses was projected to be 80,000. It turns out that there were 114,000 voters . . . and it represents the highest turnout of Evangelicals ever (by a long shot) at nearly 70,000.

However, this other New York Times article shows that, while 25% of the US population consider themselves Evangelicals, only 12% of the US population are "traditionalist" Evangelicals. The rest are "centrists" or "modernists" and their votes split between the parties. If Huckabee thinks that he can count on the "traditionalist" Evangelical vote to carry him to the nomination, he's sorely misinformed. If he somehow manages to get the nomination, Evangelicals surely won't be enough to carry him into the White House. The Dems are still licking their chops at the prospect of him being the nominee.

The good news heading into New Hampshire is that the Romney camp turned out MORE people than they thought they would--over 30,000 votes. But if not for the super showing by the evangelicals, Romney would have won this going away. His 30,000+ votes among the projected 80,000 voters would have been nearly 40% of the vote . . . a convincing victory similar to Bush's Iowa win in 2000. Huckabee over-performed last night at nearly 40,000 votes. But LESS THAN 10,000 of those voters were NOT evangelicals (fewer votes than even Ron Paul got in the caucuses). Put another way, only 1 out of every 330 non-evangelical Iowans turned out to vote for Huckabee as their next commander in chief. Hardly a "mandate" for him.

The likely outcome of the Iowa GOP delegate count is very interesting too:

Huckabee - 34% (17 delegates)
Romney - 25% (12 delegates)
Thompson - 13% (3 delegates)
McCain - 13% (3 delegates)
Paul - 10% (2 delegates)
Giuliani - 4% (no delegates)

New Hampshire is not "winner take all" for their GOP delegates either (all 12 of them). However NH shakes out, it's still pretty clear that Romney will be the leader in total delegates after NH (counting the delegates he'll probably pick up tomorrow in Wyoming). That may be a convincing argument to Romney passing the viability and electability test and being the one who can re-unite the conservative coalition.

Romney supporters need to realize what a strange aberration of evangelical outpouring the Iowa caucus was. Romney turned out his supporters. He'll do the same in NH. He's the best candidate we have bar none. As another Romney supporter said, it's time to quickly lick our wounds and battle on.


Nealie Ride said...

Let's quickly acknowledge what occurred in Iowa, and then re-focus on NH.

I'm predicting a #1 finish.

See a few stories at NY for Mitt:

Carl said...

I sure hope you are correct!

Huckabees huge victory among Evangelical Christians just further alienates me from the Republican Party (for which I am currently a member, although I do not know for how much longer).
As a Christian myself, I refuse to go along with the one issue politics of Huckabee and Evangelicals. Huckabee is not on par with many core beliefs of Republicans (myself included) and my own experience with Evangelicals both in general and politically has shown them to be very hypocritical “Sunday Christians”.

Also the Evangelical disdain of Romney simply because of his Mormon faith further disgusts me. This is interesting as Mormon growth in Massachusetts stagnated during his tenure there as Governor, so much for using his power as a governor or president as a bully pulpit.

I hope that either Thompson or Romney can prove Iowa wrong, if Huckabee wins the nomination, I am NOT voting Republican (which I am not on my local candidates anyway)

Carl Strohmeyer: Huckabee wins Iowa with Evangelical vote

Anonymous said...

Dito Carl- you said it all for me!

billlava said...

Carl, please don't be disgusted with the Republican party just yet. It's true that there are different camps, including (as always seems to be the case) a very vocal minority. If Romney or Thompson wins the nomination, you can in good conscience vote Republican. If Huckabee tricks enough Republican primary voters to get the nod... well, then I wouldn't blame you if you wrote in Mickey Mouse.

jarebear35 said...

Just a quick comment...the GOP party cannot win in november with out the evangelical turnout...Iowa proved their obvious bigotry of Mormons, so even if Romney gets the nomination how can he win??? It's disgusting, switch just the one fact: make Huckabee a mormon but leave him with his charm, record, message, etc. Make Mitt a baptist preacher, but with his same record, same way of talking, etc. and Mitt runs away with Iowa, NH and the onto the nomination and a blowout victory...Mitt can't win without the evangelicals behind him, and they really showed their bias last night. I thought that the rumors weren't true, I've been reading evangelicals for mitt, and other blogs, but last night was really an eye-opener.
Don't get me wrong, I will be pushing for mitt the whole way, Washington's caucus is Feb 9th, and i know hundreds of people that are family and friends that are all out for Mitt and I will be pushing for him the whole way, but the evangelical bias/bigotry against his mormonism is and will hurt him. Big time.

Jody said...

This is the first post that I have read all day that has made me feel better... The actual Delegate count!

Huckabee - 34% (17 delegates)
Romney - 25% (12 delegates)
Thompson - 13% (3 delegates)
McCain - 13% (3 delegates)
Paul - 10% (2 delegates)
Giuliani - 4% (no delegates)

I have been down in the dumps over 5 measly delegates.. that is nothing!

I need a score sheet of each state is a winner take all and which ones will divide up the delegates and the delegates available... In the end that is the only numbers we need.. I want to know the magic number that ensures Romney's nomination! Can someone put this together and keep us updated on those numbers???

I am so confident of Mitt's victory that I went online and made a campaign contribution AGAIN! GO MITT!

Anonymous said...

Great Post Here. The data sure supports the theory. By the way, did you see how Mitt responded to his 2nd place finish? He looked absolutely fantastic. He was a gentleman. He wore a huge smile of resolve and confidence. I think his true character showed through to the nation, inspite of the childish McHuck cries for help. McHuck reminds me of little kids who, if their sibling looks at them funny, scream to Mom as if they've been beaten. I love that Mitt is not buying it. He is going after McCain's liberal record very directly in NH. His strategy closed the gap in Iowa. I think New Hampshire conservatives will see through the "HELP! He looked at me funny!!" Nonsense. Was it just me, or did Huckabee's "acceptance speech" party of supporters behind him look like a clip from Sesame Street? ...anyone else see Chuck Norris and the gang?

billlava said...

It is certainly true that Mitt can't win without evangelical support. The main question then is who will beat the anti-Mormon war drum if not Mike Huckabee? I doubt that any of the democratic candidates would, or even could get evangelicals to support them. That means they would either sit at home and allow a pro-choice candidate to get in the White House, or they would vote on the one issue that really matters to them: abortion. Unfortunately if Mike Huckabee gets the nod I think many conservatives actually would sit at home or write in a candidate, knowing full well that it would put an honest liberal in Washington over a disingenuous pro-life liberal.

Joe Mama said...

Someone should come up with a superfriends comic, or a sesame street comic book starring Chuck Norris and Huckster. Pass it around electronically before the South Carolina primary.

Anonymous said...

After outspending Huckabee by an outrageous margin, your man Mitt found that the voters of Iowa, in the end, could not be bought. Nor could they be fooled by a man who oozes insincerity from every pore.
After all the wasted money, and after all the weeks of relentless Huckabee bashing by people like you, your man doesn’t simply get beaten, he gets hammered, crushed. It was like a fight between the schoolyard bully and a 98 pound weakling that ends with the bully suffering a hellacious beat down. Of course the flaw in that analogy is that it is really Romney who is the weakling—a moral weakling, that is. After 7 years of Bush, Americans are used to being lied to and taken for fools. But it seems that they can’t stomach smarmy insincerity; given that this is the stock in trade of the Romney candidacy, therein lies the problem for the plastic man from Massachusetts.
You Romney folks are right about at least one thing, however. Huckabee is indeed a flawed candidate; if nominated it’s hard for me to believe that he has a chance in hell of winning the general election. Most Americans are far too open minded for the over-the-top super-Christianity that seemed to play well with the self-styled moralists in Iowa. But in your frantic search for Huckabee’s flaws as a candidate, the thing that you folks continue to ignore is Romney’s obvious flaws as a human. The ethical and moral lapses, combined with his peculiar penchant for just plain lying, all the while portraying himself as the wholesome candidate of truth, justice and the American way…well in the end even the Republicans who continue to deny themselves the truth about the Bush Administration could not be fooled by Mitt.
So now it’s on to New Hampshire where Mitt is already backpedaling furiously in an attempt to lower expectations. What’s clear, however, is that if the people of New Hampshire see Romney as clearly as Iowans did, all your frantic attempts to discredit Huckabee and McCain will be fruitless. It’s about Mitt now; people don’t trust him, they don’t believe him, they don’t like him. No amount of Huckabee and McCain bashing by the frantic legions of Romney supporters will obscure these simple facts…Mitt’s moral and ethical dwarfism will, in the end, doom him. Evidence, it seems, that primary voters are not as stupid as you and Mitt take them for. The system works!

Have a nice day


Nealie Ride said...


You're grossly mistaken.

Mitt did well in Iowa, but could not overcome the fierce 60% evangelical turnout.

Mitt had to spend $ to get his message out and build an operation. That operation intimidated and vanquished all the conventional campaigns: Rudy, McCain, and Thompson.

Huck's campaign was spread from pastor to pastor. Rural women (who's husbands were watching the Orange Bowl) did as their pastors directed, and voted for Huck. Organization will never beat that type of religious zeal.

Interestingly, 55% of Iowa evangelicals did not support their Christian champion, Huck. But that 55% spread among many candidates. Whereas, Huck got the remaining 45%.

Not surpisingly, divisive and polarizing Huck's support consisted of 86% evangelicals and only got 14% of non-evangelicals. That's not a full-spectrum, broadly appealing candidate.

The Iowa Christaian Alliance president supported Mitt, but too few others did.

Plenty of avenues exist for Mitt's victory. Virtually none are available for Mike.

Have a nice day.

Nealie Ride

Keith Steurer said...

Outspending = out organizing. Organizing costs money, and if you look at the numbers, the 20:1 margin that Huckabee is touting on TV is absolutely false. You also have to add the money that the contributed to his campaign (don't forget that). You also have to look at the free advertising that can't be financially numbered, but definately has a value (IE: Jay Leno, upcoming Colbert Report, etc). Tocall it wasted money is also incorrect. Mitt has gone from a no-name to getting 25% of the vote, and winning major counties like Johnson County. His message of change and prosperity rang out this week, and it took money to make it happen.
If you look at every state, Mitt is the only consistent candidate. In each state it is always Mitt vs. the other guy. Mitt vs. Huckabee in Iowa, Mitt vs. McCain in NH. Mitt vs. Rudy in Florida. Is there a theme starting here?
THe fact remains, the evangelical zombie voters who simply followed their sunday orders to vote for Huckabee have shown their true colors. I have heard several stories of folks in my county who had very unfortunate run-ins with anti mormons speaking openly at their caucuses. Religion is not supposed to be an "issue" when we vote on "issues". So sad. I thought we were better as a party. Mitt is by no means giving up. He has momentum, publicity, a winning track record, and plenty of money. Huck has none of that. Thanks to everyone who got out the vote in Iowa for Mitt!