Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is running just seven points behind longtime frontrunner Rudy Giuliani in Florida, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
So much for the idea that a candidate can't compete in the fourth largest state without a big name and deep pockets. The former governor of Arkansas has no ties to Florida and only a loose network of volunteers.
Giuliani gets 28 percent of the vote, followed by Huckabee with 21 percent. Mitt Romney is right behind him with 20 percent. John McCain has 13 percent, while Fred Thompson has 8 percent.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to dominate, with a 2-1 lead over Barack Obama. The only surprise is John Edwards, who has pulled into a statistical tie with Obama. Clinton has 43 percent of the vote, compared to Obama with 21 percent and Edwards with 19 percent.
"Iowa and New Hampshire may be close races, but at this point Florida is a runaway for Sen. Hillary Clinton, while Mayor Giuliani will have to pick up the pace to hold onto his shrinking lead,'' said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Huckabee has emerged as a factor in the GOP field no matter how you count it, largely on strong support from white, evangelical Christians.''
Quinnipiac University surveyed 397 Florida likely Democratic primary voters and 397 likely Republican primary voters from Dec. 12-18. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
More about the Huckaboom in Florida here.