Dark Horse Matchup: Huckabee vs. Paul
If, like me, you’ve been paying way too much attention to the Presidential race, one media trend that you might have noticed lately is the recent spate of stories about Governor Mike Huckabee’s campaign. Many of the stories focus on his increased support from social conservatives and his recent standings in the Iowa and New Hampshire polls and have started calling him a “dark horse” for the Republican nomination.
In one sense, this isn’t much of a surprise. After all, Huckabee is a very engaging speaker, and has differentiated himself from the Republican pack on a number of issues.
Still, this might be the cranky libertarian in me, but I can’t help but notice that, despite the “dark horse” press, from a purely objective political perspective, it seems to me that Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee are about equal on the level–and, in fact, Ron Paul is arguably doing better job campaigning.
First off, if we look at polling nationally, Paul and Huckabee are about equal. The latest Gallup poll shows both of them at 4%. Huckabee has been around that for most of the campaign, but Paul has been improving, albeit slowly, from not even being included in the polls to what I have to say is a respectable 4%, given how out of the mainstream most of his views are. And in the early primary states, Huckabee has the lead in Iowa, but within in the margin of error, and both candidates are tied at 6% in New Hampshire.
Which takes us to fundraising. As of last quarter, Paul had vastly more cash on hand than Huckabee, and early reports indicate that Paul has raised more in the 3rd quarter than he did in the second. Also telling is the look of their fundraising pushes. Go to Mike Huckabee’s website, and you’ll see that they’re pushing for 2,500 total contributors by Sept. 30. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is doing a push for an extra $500,000 by September 30 (which will no doubt be successful–as of this writing, Paul’s push has raised $427,114.68 with almost 4 days to go). The difference in goals speaks volumes about fundraising expectations. Granted, both Paul and Huckabee are raising drop in the bucket figures compared to the major candidates, but Paul’s fundraising is very impressive given his comparative polling. And the rise in his polling seems to indicate that the campaign money is paying off.
Obviously, at this stage of the game, it’s unlikely that either Paul or Huckabee is going to take the Republican nomination. Still, I find the recent media attention on Huckabee interesting when you consider that, on paper, Ron Paul’s campaign appears to be enjoying more success.