So, Mike Huckabee is out of the 2012 GOP nomination race. What does that mean for Jon Huntsman or Mitt Romney? One expert says, not much.
Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com looks at six categories that define what voters he appeals to, and who would be poised to pick up those voters with his expert. Not surprisingly, both Romney and Huntsman are on the opposite side of Huckabee. The only place where one of those two stand to gain is Iowa, where Huckabee runs strongly, and Romney is behind the former Arkansas Governor.
Other candidates, however, share little in common with Mr. Huckabee. Jon Huntsman of Utah might be closest to his opposite number — socially moderate rather than socially conservative, Mormon rather than evangelical Protestant, rarely seen in the cornfields of Iowa or on the airwaves of Fox News. Mr. Romney doesn’t share much in common with Mr. Huckabee — although his not having to compete against Mr. Huckabee in Iowa would be a big deal. Donald Trump and Mr. Huckabee don’t have much in common.
That isn’t to say that a candidate like Mr. Huntsman would prefer that Mr. Huckabee enter the race. Unless one of your opponents splits the vote in an extremely fortuitous way with his rivals, you’d almost always rather that he stay on the sidelines.
Silver says Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Herman Cain could benefit the most from Huckabee's exit.