huckabee13.jpgWith Mike Huckabee campaigning pretty hard in New Hampshire these last few days, God-o-Meter wondered: in a comparatively secular state where Huck is nonetheless drawing decent-sized crowds and running a respectable third in the polls, what’s his support base?
It turns out that Huckabee’s crowds in New Hampshire aren’t all that different from those he was drawing in Iowa. God-o-Meter’s random sampling of a dozen attendees at a packed appearance this morning at Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason—enough people showed up at the 200-person capacity restaurant to force a first and second seating—turned up all serious churchgoers, about half from evangelical churches. Most cited Huckabee’s faith and values as the basis for their support.
“I know that he’s a Christian, and that he’s a pastor, and I believe in that,” said Barbara Gagron, a 63-year-old retiree from Pelham.
Asked why she was supporting Huckabee, 46-year-old Sue Winter said, “his Christian values—I’m a Christian and I support anyone who’s a man of God. A marketing executive from New Ipswich, Winter had brought her 18-year-old daughter, Tiara, to hear the former Arkansas governor. Tiara plans to cast the first presidential vote of her life tomorrow for Huckabee and reports that an informal survey of her all-ages Bible study showed that Huckabee was the overwhelming favorite.
As a nation, we need to get back to a moral standard,” said Noella Olson, a 53-year-old farmer from Hopkinton who described herself as a pro-life churchgoing evangelical. “But [Huckabee’s] not in evangelical box—he can dialogue with people in the Northeast.”
Olson was not the only supporter at this morning’s event to applaud Huckabee’s ability to transcend the Christian right. Plenty of the churchgoers present said they also liked his populist message and some of his more progressive stances. “He was willing to give a pardon to someone who’d made a mistake in life, which shoes he’s a man of forgiveness,” said Scott Bill Hirst, 54, who’d driven from Rhode Island to hear Huckabee, citing an issue that has caused him grief among many conservatives. “That’s a quality I don’t’ see in Mitt Romney.”
Hirst wasn’t the only conservative Christian to drives from another state to see Huckabee. Doug Roseberger, a courier from Albany, drove three hours with his pastor and other church members to this morning’s event, which also featured Huckabee supporter Chuck Norris. “He expresses his faith in Jesus Christ and makes that faith personal,” Roseberger said, while blaming the media and the political establishment for turning a candidate’s faith into a “stumbling block.”
God-o-Meter, too, thinks Huck’s overt faithfulness, such an asset in Iowa and in other early states, like South Carolina, may become a stumbling block. His faith-based campaign ensures a certain segment of evangelical and other conservative Christian support, but God-o-Meter has yet to meet a Huckabee supporter who wasn’t led to him because of his or her faith. And God-o-Meter doesn’t see how that connection alone will be enough to win him the nomination.


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