December 8, 2007 in Nation/World

Huckabee advancing at Thompson’s expense

Alan Fram Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – Mike Huckabee has vaulted from nowhere into second place in the Republican presidential race, riding a burst of support from evangelicals, Southerners and conservatives, a nationwide poll showed Friday.

The surge by the former Arkansas governor has come largely at the expense of Fred Thompson, according to the national survey by the Associated Press and Ipsos. Thompson has dropped after failing to galvanize the party’s right-wing core as much as some had expected.

Rudy Giuliani remains the front-runner, yet while his support has long been steady, it shows signs of fraying. Huckabee’s growing strength in the South has come as the former New York mayor’s support there has dropped, the poll found.

“Why not me?” Huckabee said in an interview Thursday. “I meet all the criteria. I’m conservative, but I think I appeal to a broader set of voters. And I think that people are also looking for someone with whom they can identify.”

The poll showed Giuliani at 26 percent among Republican and GOP-leaning voters, about where he has been since spring. Huckabee has 18 percent, up from 10 percent in an AP-Ipsos survey a month ago and 3 percent in July.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has 13 percent, Mitt Romney 12 percent and Thompson 11 percent.

Huckabee’s ascent in the national poll echoed his upswing in Iowa, whose Jan. 3 nominating caucuses will be the first votes in the 2008 presidential campaign. A recent AP-Pew Research Center poll showed Huckabee in a virtual tie there with Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.

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