Huckabee still ahead in Iowa

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Donald Trump may be taking Florida by storm, but Mike Huckabee is still the favorite in Iowa, according to a Public Policy Polling poll released Tuesday. Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucus in 2008, takes 27 percent of the vote on a slate of candidates, handily beating Mitt Romney’s 16 percent and Donald Trump’s 14 percent.

Trump, in fact, doesn’t seem to be much of a factor in the first-in-the-nation primary state. Remove him from the race, and his percentage of the vote is redistributed somewhat evenly among the other candidates, leaving the standings say much the same: Huckabee retains the largest share of the vote, with Romney in second, and Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin moving into third where Trump was (with Trump in the race they are in fourth and fifth place, with 9 percent and 8 percent of the vote respectively).

Romney, despite the rumors that he will devote minimal resources to the state, holds on to second place in all the configurations polled by PPP. Huckabee is his major competitor in the state – if he doesn’t run, as many have speculated, then Romney leads the other candidates by a substantial margin.

The numbers differ from other early primary states like Florida and New Hampshire, where Huckabee gets little traction. His dominance in Iowa is likely attributable, in large part, to his win there in the last election: people like a winner. It could also reflect the greater sway that social conservatives have in Iowa compared to other states, but that is clearly not the only factor, as Trump and Romney beat more pronounced social conservatives like Gingrich and Bachmann.