If campaigns were a measure of a candidate’s economic policy, there would be no questions about Mike Huckabee’s fiscal conservatism.  He has gotten more mileage for every dollar he’s spent than any of the other top Republican candidates.   Roger Simon at Politico did the math:

Mitt Romney has spent $53.6 million this primary season and has 36.2 percent of the vote in Iowa, according to the poll. Which means Romney has spent $1.48 million for every percentage point of support.

Rudy Giuliani has spent $30.6 million and has 13.1 percent of the vote. Which means he has spent $2.34 million for every percentage point of support.

Mike Huckabee has spent $1.7 million and has 12.8 percent of the vote. Which means he has spent $133,000 for every percentage point of support.

So who is the biggest fiscal conservative?

By my calculations, if Huckabee had Romney’s money, Huckabee would have 40.3 percent of the vote in Iowa and would be in first place.

The fact that Romney has spent $53.6 million on his campaign and hasn’t managed to decisively pull away from the field in Iowa (where he has spent a good chunk of that money, per his strategy) is instructive as to his limitations.

But it’s also instructive of Huckabee’s potential–with almost no money, he has managed not only to hang around, but to make a dent in the campaign.  That’s fiscal conservatism at work.

(Also, see Joe’s destruction of the Club for Growth report on Huckabee.   And this write-up in the Des Moines Register is a huge boon to Huck’s campaign.)

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. I can’t tell if your “calculations” are tongue-in-cheek because surely one can’t assume that there’s a one-to-one ratio between dollars spent and votes got.


  2. Matthew Lee Anderson October 31, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    There is a touch of irony to them, I confess. There certainly isn’t a 1-to-1 correspondence between dollars and votes (as Simon points out too). But the irony lies in the fact that some people are trumpeting Romney’s case because of his ability to fundraise, which is a tacit endorsement of SOME correlation between dollars and votes. The point here is that the correlation may not be as strong as some people think. And in Romney’s case, the money might not help him in the generals as much as people think.

    If the primaries are any indication the less-well funded Huckabee might actually out-perform the better funded Romney. Which makes me think the social cons really don’t need fiscal conservatives to win the White House…but Romney really needs the social conservatives. Advantage: Huckabee.


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