“Bush Hawks,” the second-largest group, are the president’s most ardent supporters, as Fabrizio found, the only voter segment that says the country is moving in the right direction. They believe in a militarily muscular foreign policy that spreads democracy.
Criticizing Bush’s foreign policy, as Huckabee has done, would definitely rub this group the wrong way. Which is why Romney is attempting to bring Huckabee’s statements to the attention of these so-called Bush Hawks. ~The Swamp
Romney must have forgotten that he is competing in Iowa, where even a slim majority of Republicans wants withdrawal from Iraq within the next six months. Fabrizio’s survey is useful for understanding the make-up of the modern GOP and may explain why Huckaabee is doing as well as he is right now. If you tally up the groups that seem to align with many of the positions in the campaign that Huckabee has been running on, you come up with a large part of the Republican Party. Consider: “Heartland” Republicans (8%) are “[n]ot opposed to more government spending & regulation, and action on environment,” the bizarrely named “Dennis Miller Republicans” (14%) are focused on social issues and illegal immigration and are more likely to be gun owners (Huckabee is solid on two of these three and is pretending to be care about the third), the “Government Knows Best Republicans” (13%) are focused on social issues and are more supportive of government intervention on social and environmental issues and, of course, the “Moralists” (24%). This group includes a majority of evangelicals. They have lower income than the GOP average and are, as the name suggests, preoccupied with moral issues.
This 24% alone could possibly account for Huckabee’s explosion in poll numbers across the country, and then you realise that another 35% of the GOP would be open to the kind of politics Huckabee offers. That’s approaching two-thirds of the party. The 28% of “Bush Hawks” and “Free Marketers,” who are overrepresented among conservative and Republican elites, clearly don’t like what Huckabee represents, but if these categories and descriptions are correct they are outnumbered by people who would theoretically be very receptive to Huckabee. This advantage is increased still more in Iowa, where the potentially Huckabee-friendly segments of the GOP are likely to be much stronger in numbers than the BHs and FMs. The groups that make up this 59% are also the groups that value positions on issues more than they value leadership qualities in a candidate (while “Bush Hawks” and “Free Marketers” give the two equal weight), which probably works to the advantage of the candidate who is “right” on the issues even if his rivals have better reputations for competence and management. The “Moralists” naturally strongly believe that the GOP has not spent too much time focusing on moral issues, and it against the rest of the party’s belief that it has that the “Moralists” may be reacting in propelling Huckabee into the lead. Even in June, Huckabee was getting 4% of the DMRs and 3% of the “Moralists” when he was considered a nobody and was barely getting 1% overall. From those two groups alone, he may have a ceiling of 37% of the party, which would make him very formidable.