Huckabee, Obama Surge in New National Poll

WASHINGTON – Mike Huckabee's and Barack Obama's win at the Iowa caucuses have catapulted them to the top of voters' preferences nationwide, according to a new survey released Tuesday.

The latest USA Today/Gallup poll of adults across the country conducted in the days immediately following the Iowa caucuses, Jan. 4-6, found that both candidates dramatically benefited from their win.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee captured 25 percent of Republicans voters nationwide who want him to be the party's nomination, up from 16 percent in mid-December, according to Gallup.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona also saw his support increase since mid-December from 14 to 19 percent. However, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney saw his national support decline after losing the Iowa caucuses. His current 9 percent of the vote is his worst standing in the race since early October.

Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois saw his rating of 27 percent in mid-December jump to 33 percent of Democrats or Democratic-leading independents who want him as the party's nomination. At 33 percent, Obama now ties with Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York for the lead on the Democratic side.

Prior to their Iowa win, Huckabee was tied for second place with several Republicans behind then-front-runner former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Likewise, Obama was stuck in second position behind Clinton, who then had the image that she was undefeatable.

Now, 46 percent of Americans, including 42 percent of Democrats, believe Obama is the man to beat for the Democratic nomination. In comparison, 35 percent of Americans believe Clinton will win the party nomination while 14 percent guess former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina will win.

Likewise, Americans are predicting that Iowa winner Mike Huckabee will go on to win the 2008 Republican nomination. A third (33 percent) of national adults and 36 percent of Republicans, say that Huckabee will win the party's nomination.

In second place are McCain and Giuliani with 18 percent of national voters, followed by Romney with 14 percent of Americans believing he will emerge as the Republican nominee.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,023 national adults, age 18 and older. Results are based on the sample of 499 Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party, and 423 Republicans and independents who lean to the Republican Party.