I was at the party in downtown Des Moines last night, as the predictions were announced and speeches were given and hugs and high-fives, and cheers and huge smiles were ever-present. Gov. Huckabee’s speech was electrifying. It made ever single phone call I made this week here in Iowa completely worth it.
I’ll try to write a summary blog of my experiences later, but I wanted to share with you all part of a column written late last night by Michael Medved that I think needs serious attention by our so-called party leaders (those with the nice titles — not the party leaders, the voters, as was shown tonight):
NOW THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: Key revelations from the Entrance Poll of some 1600 respondents reported by CNN re-enforce the idea that cheerfulness and optimism were crucial to Huckabee’s success.
The Huck-meister built his impressive victory margin almost entirely among younger voters –the group most likely to respond to a positive appeal, and least likely to respond by mean-spirited fights about who can be tougher or angrier regarding illegal immigrants.
Among voters (many of them first-timers, obviously) between the ages of 17 and 29, Huckabee crushed Romney by an almost two-to-one margin (40% to 22%). In this youthful group, the Mad Doctor (Ron Paul) virtually tied Romney with 21%). In the next youngest age group (30 to 44), Huckabee won by a similarly devastating margin (39% to 23%) Only among the oldest (and, presumably grouchiest) segment of the electorate did Romney even come close to matching Huckabee: of those above the age of 65 (a full 27% of caucus goers), the two candidates almost tied (30% for Huck, 28% for Mitt).
One other group that delivered big time for Huckabee involved voters with limited income. Those who reported household incomes below $50,000 backed the former Arkansas governor by 36% to 20%. Those who eanred more than $50 K split almost evenly: 32% to 28%. In other words, Huckabee won a statewide landslide because he held a 16 point advantage from voters who earned below the national average.
Finally, there’s the gender issue: a huge factor in Iowa. I’ve been talking for weeks about Huckabee’s special appeal to women – as a neighborly, unassuming, soft-spoken and reliable sort of guy. According to the entrance polls, Iowa gals agree that they Like Mike – and how! Male voters split almost down the middle 29% for Huck, 26% for Mitt. The ladies, in the other hand, very decisively preferred the rumpled, balding, former fatty from Hope, Arkansas, to the blow-dried, athletic, dazzlingly handsome multi-millionaire from Boston. The Huckabee margin among female voters: a breathtaking 40% to 24%. Watch out, Janet Huckabee: it looks like your husband of 33 years somehow discovered Love Potion Number Nine (I’m sure he could play that song on his bass guitar).
Now, take a moment to add up the impact of these numbers.
Huckabee earned his victory by piling up big margins among women, the poor, and the young.
And where, demographically, have Republicans faced horrible problems in the recent past (particulary 2006)? We’ve lost by giving our opponents huge margins among…. women, the poor, and the young.
The obvious conclusion is that party leaders need to give special respect and attention to a Republican with special appeal to three key groups that normally reject the GOP — taking a second look at Huckabee for his ability to win women, the poor and the young.
Very very interesting.