NYT shocka: Huckabee surging in Iowa partly on strength of anti-Mormonism

Thin gruel without polling data (although polling data on this point is hard to come by), and not exactly breaking news in the macro sense, but noteworthy insofar as some Huckabee supporters are willing to cop to it on the record. Dean Barnett claimed the other day that Huck’s new “Christian leader” ad was a sly way of hitting this issue without hitting this issue. The Times doesn’t get anyone to confirm that, but, well…

Chip Saltsman, Mr. Huckabee’s campaign manager, said the campaign had no intention [in the ad] of making any kind of allusion to Mr. Romney’s being a Mormon, saying the idea was simply to introduce Mr. Huckabee to Iowans…

Mr. Huckabee’s advisers admit privately they are cognizant of how Mr. Romney’s religion can work against him and how Mr. Huckabee’s evangelical roots are to their advantage at least among some voters. They pointed out, however, that all candidates have aspects of their biographies that can be beneficial or not, depending on the audience.

Follow the link for quotes from supporters. My favorite, from a question posed to Huck at a recent event:

“I’m concerned a lot of Christians are thinking about the values issues and forgetting about the creator behind the values issues,” Ms. Gherkey said. “I guess I feel like this country and this world needs a president who would be able to pray to the God of the Bible and he would be able to hear his prayers.”

She wondered, Would Mr. Romney’s prayers “even get through”?

Here’s the new Gallup; note the lower right-hand corner. Hillary’s gotten static over the number of voters who say they’d never vote for her, but not only isn’t she the candidate who’s worst off in this respect, she’s actually improved from 51% in January 2006. That’s good news since it shows that voters who say “never” don’t always mean it — something that had better be true for our sake if Mitt does pull this one out.