Yesterday Pew released its “Democratic Primary Preview” polls, done in association with the AP, from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina (giving Clinton a slight lead in the first and big leads in the other two). Today comes the “Republican Primary Preview”, with numbers from the same three states testing the strength of the GOP presidential candidates. The top-line numbers reinforce what other recent polls have shown: that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has surged into a first-place tie with Mitt Romney in Iowa and is showing signs of strength in South Carolina and nationally. The meat of the polls is most interesting, especially the data that show what utterly different electorates Republican candidats are facing between Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, for example, President Bush enjoys an 80% approval rating from Republicans. In New Hampshire, it’s just 55%. Only 18% of like voters in the New Hampshire GOP primary are “white Protestant evangelicals.” Nationally, among Republican voters, the number is 36%. In Iowa it’s 38% and in South Carolina it rises all the way to 53%. Not surprisingly, Huckabee draws much of his sudden strength in Iowa from evangelicals. If he doesn’t broaden his appeal, he’ll have a hard time replicating Iowa success in New Hampshire. The full GOP Pew/AP poll results are here.
Also, here’s today’s (still largely meaningless) national tracking poll from Rasmussen for both R’s and D’s.