Ever since his surprisingly strong showing in Ames on Saturday, there has been some debate over whether Mike Huckabee deserves to be considered a top tier candidate. Huckabee even described himself that way when speaking to reporters in Washington yesterday. This is wishful thinking. In national polls, he still registers in the low single digits, trailing the margin of error. In the early states, even Iowa, he still remains in the single digits. In the first two quarters of the year, he has raised just $1.3 million–combined. Will he get a bump in the polls as a result of his showing in Ames? Most likely. Will he receive a fundraising boost? Absolutely. But we don’t know how substantial, or how sustained, that boost will be. Let’s revisit this issue in a few months, when we know how much Ames mattered. If he’s steadily climbing in polls into the top cluster of candidates, and if his fundraising is substantially improved, we can renew the debate over whether he’s earned his place in the top tier. But for now, at best, you can say that post-Ames, it’s no longer inconceivable that he can make that leap.
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