Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee may be benefiting from the same political dynamic—a desire for fresh faces who aren't part of the Washington establishment—as they surge forward in their respective parties in Iowa, which will hold the nation's first presidential nominating caucuses January 3.
"They both have spoken to the voters' lighter side rather than their darker side, and they've given voters some reason for hope," says a prominent Democratic consultant not allied with any presidential campaign. "And neither of them represents the traditional take on things."
Finally, each made "really good use of their opportunities," the consultant adds. The result, political pros say, is that both the Democrats and the Republicans may have a protracted battle on their hands for each party's presidential nomination—a struggle that could extend well beyond February 5, when some 20 states hold primaries and caucuses. That's the date when many political pros had thought the two nominees would be selected. It could still happen but will be less likely if Obama and Huckabee continue to gain momentum against their rivals in the early states.
—Kenneth T. Walsh