Huckabee Surges in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina

Leads Fred Thompson in Iowa , N.H.; Easily Outdistances Brownback in All Three

Little Rock, AR – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has surged to third place in the Republican presidential contest in Iowa, leading potential candidate Fred Thompson in that state and New Hampshire , according to an American Research Group poll released today.

Huckabee, who scored a stunning second-place in the Republican Party of Iowa straw poll on Aug. 11, received support from 14 percent of Iowans and 9 percent of New Hampshire Republicans in the new ARG poll. He had been at 1 percent in each state in July. Huckabee stands at 9 percent in South Carolina , up from 3 percent in July, and is tied with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney for fourth place.

Thompson's Iowa support remained stuck at 13 percent for the second month after peaking at 14 percent in June, according to the poll. He trails Huckabee in New Hampshire and is down from 13 percent in July to 8 percent. The former U.S. senator from Tennessee is also off his peak in South Carolina , down from 27 percent in July to 23 percent this month.

"Mike Huckabee clearly remains an underdog in the race, but he is the real surprise in the field. Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – the three states most focused on the 2008 presidential contest – are sizing him up and they obviously like what they see. When they see him, meet him and hear them, they come away convinced that he ought to be in the top tier of candidates," said Chip Saltsman, Huckabee's national campaign manager. "That's why he's gaining momentum in all three crucial early states when other campaigns have stalled or are on a downward path."

U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who finished behind Huckabee in the straw poll, has no measurable support in Iowa , according to the poll. His peak in Iowa was 3 percent in June. Brownback's support among likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters has remained at 1 percent since April. He is at 2 percent in South Carolina .

U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, who was at 17 percent in Iowa in July, opted not to compete in the Iowa straw poll – considered to be the first test of the candidates' organizational strength – after spending more than $25 million nationwide. He fell to 5 percent in Iowa , according to the ARG poll. In South Carolina, McCain, who was at 36 percent in South Carolina , is now at 12 percent, while Huckabee's numbers are on the rise. McCain climbed 2 percent in New Hampshire in August, up from 10 percent to 12 percent but still down sharply from his April high of 29 percent.

Huckabee welcomed the good news: "Today's new poll shows a growing momentum that we've felt on the ground for weeks. It also proves what voters across America know, that message matters. While I am truly encouraged by these upward trends in all Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina , I look forward to working even harder in the days and weeks to come."