Campaign picking up: Club for Growth attacks, and Rasmussen polls

Club for Growth has been going after Mike Huckabee for weeks now, even before his phenomenal November surge started. Pat Toomey its president had written a very vitriolic diatribe against Huckabee in late October in the National Review. And then they started running Iowa ads blasting Huckabee when he started to surge.

They have now increased their ad buy by $175,000 which can buy a significant amount of air time in Iowa, for this ad (YouTube link, so watch it there). So Iowans can now expect to see it even more. The ad showcases a Huckabee press conference in which the then-Arkansas Governor implores the Democratic legislature of sending him any kind of tax hike (and he launches in a big list).

I'm unclear as to why Club for Growth is not choosing to run another ad since there is surely plenty of material they can use; how useful can the same ad in three week rotation be after all? Especially when Huckabee's numbers haven't moved that much over the past month. Clearly, the angle of attack is one that can hurt Huckabee greatly given how important taxes are to the Republican base; and Huckabee is taking a huge risk by going all out in the populist direction -- though he clearly thinks the benefits could be significant.

  • Rasmussen releases state polls: NC, IL, MI
Rasmussen comes out with a bunch of state polls today from states that could prove very interesting come election day.

First up, Illinois where Barack Obama runs much better than Hillary Clinton. That is not in itself a surprise given that it is Obama's home-state, but Clinton is much weaker than she should be in a very blue state:

  • Obama beats Rudy Giuliani 51% to 31%. He is ahead of Mike Huckabee 54% to 30%.
  • Hilary Clinton barely comes ahead of Rudy Giuliani 46% to 40% and Mike Huckabee 45% to 41%.
Next comes North Carolina, a reliably red state that Dems failed to make any inroads in in 2004 despite Edwards's presence on the ticket. And there have been many polls to suggest that Democrats would be very competitive (for example this one taken two weeks ago), and this latest Rasmussen poll is no exception:

  • Hillary leads Romney 42% to 40% and is statistically tied with Giuliani 40% to 39%. She does trail McCain 45-50 but it's Huckabee who does the best, 46-39.
  • Rasmussen did not test Edwards or Obama, despite the fact that it would surely be very interesting to see whether Edwards can carry his home-state. The PPP poll I linked to above has him leading Republicans.
Having Illinois and North Carolina as tight purple states would naturally be a huge expansion of the map on both parts in 2008. Michigan looks more solidly anchored blue in the Rasmussen poll, though it is clear that the Democratic nominee will have to fight for it just as Gore and Kerry had to in the past 2 cycles:

  • Clinton leads both Huckabee and Giuliani 45% to 36%. It is Romney who comes the closest in the state of which his father was Governor, trailing 45% to 39%.
  • Barack Obama leads Giuliani 46% to 38% and Huckabee 46% to 37%.
Remember when seeing these numbers that Michigan has a GOP primary on January 15th, and that Romney's natural edge in the state that this poll confirms could definitely help him here (though it will probably not do so if he can't carry Iowa or New Hampshire).

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