Romney, Bush, Paul are all names that are for the most part easily recognizable names in the American Political Atmosphere. When you ask the average american independent to form an opinion on Mike Huckabee, they probably wouldn’t be able to. That is among the several of the problems the Huckabee campaign will have to deal with over the next 2 years, but if overcome I have a feeling he can not only secure the nomination, but win it all.
However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Huckabee must first win the primary, which he was unable to do in 2008. However, 2016 is looking completely different for the former Arkansas governor. He is already polling up to 9 percent in one poll (McClatchy/Marist) and he’s averaging about 7 percent across major polls which is significant boost from when he was polling around 1 to 2 percent this time in 2007. His name recognition among conservatives is much higher than it was in 2008. According to fivethirtyeight.com is about 75 percent tied with Jeb Bush for second among potential Republican candidates (Romney is first). This recognition was increased with his popular TV show on Fox News that has made him more recognizable among the more moderate conservatives he was unable to reach in 2008.
Huckabee’s base is social conservatives and evangelical Christians. He seeks to acquire funding from these groups as well as, form grassroots movements that will further his fundraising capabilities hopefully allowing him to survive the loaded primary and keep up with Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. The ability to achieve this level of fundraising is a challenge for not only Huckabee but, for all of the other nominees. Luckily, it appears as though Huckabee has the best shot of reaching his goal because he has a loyal social conservative base and the ability to expand his reach to more moderate conservatives. Jeb Bush, however, also relies heavily on the hard right conservatives that Huckabee had great success with in 2008 making Bush the largest opponent for his campaign. Both of them have strong footings in the south, right-wing areas such as, Georgia and Alabama and both will be fighting to win over these groups in the coming years.
If Huckabee were to make it past the primaries, his strengths will lie mostly with these groups. He will have strong support from the rural districts throughout the south, which increase his chances of competing in swing states such as, North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida. Fortunately enough, these were the very areas that Romney struggled most in during his 2012 election campaign. The senate race in North Carolina displayed just how sound of a strategy winning over the rural southern areas is as demonstrated by Thom Tillis’ domination over Kay Hagan. The strategy of the Senate race in North Carolina could be a possible blueprint Huckabee can use on a national scale to garner votes.
There’s a substantial amount of light at the end of the tunnel for Huckabee’s chances at winning it all. The major problem his campaign faces is being able to make it to the end without running out of fuel. Huckabee carries strong conservative values and if he showcases them effectively there is no doubt he’ll be a tough out in the primaries and the general election. He is not being talked about much now, but he may be the talk of the entire country come election day in 2016.