In Conservative-Establishment Republican Split, Mike Huckabee Only Candidate to Appeal to All GOP Wings
The news media would have you believe that the 2016 Republican nomination race will be decided between the conservatives and candidates like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and moderate or establishment Republican candidates like Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. Recent polls, however, show that there is one candidate who has been able to get sizeable support from the very conservative wing, the somewhat conservative wing, and the moderate wing of the Republican Party: former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
While there is tons of data, let’s just look at a few more recent polls we’ve seen.
In a national Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in April, Mike Huckabee leads the rest of the Republican pack among Republican primary voters with 17 percent. But a deeper look paints an interesting picture.
While Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are often considered the candidates of very conservative voters, Paul received 13 percent of the very conservative vote in the poll and Cruz got 11 percent. Huckabee? A whopping 21 percent.
Huck also finished only behind Paul and Bush among “somewhat conservative voters,” ahead of Cruz, Christie, Ryan, Rubio, Perry, and anyone else. Among voters that “lean Republican,” Huckabee finished in a virtual tie with Bush and Paul.
In recent Iowa poll, Huckabee saw a similar coalition begin to take form. Not only did he finish first with 20 percent of the vote, he received 26 percent of the very conservative vote (to Cruz’ 22 percent and Paul’s 11), 18 percent of the somewhat conservative vote (to Bush’s 16 percent and Cruz’ 13), and 10 percent of the moderate vote, finishing only behind Bush, Christie, and Paul.
(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)
In a recent Oregon poll, we saw a similar phenomenon. Once again, Huckabee finished first with 21 percent. Among very conservative voters, he trailed only Ted Cruz. Among somewhat conservative voters, he finished with 25 percent, more than 10 percent higher than any other candidate. Among moderate voters, Huck finished only behind Bush.
While voter self-identification is not always the best way to learn about individual voters, one thing looks fairly clear. While Ted Cruz is the darling of very conservative voters and Bush appeals to the middle, Huckabee is doing well among all the wings of the party, and leading the rest of the pack in the majority of polls we have seen this year.