Ronald Brownstein makes the counterintuitive argument that Mike Huckabee's exit from the 2012 presidential race will actually make it harder for Mitt Romney to win the GOP nomination.
The reason is that with Huckabee off the field, the former Baptist minister’s core constituency -- the evangelical Christians who represent nearly half of the GOP’s primary electorate -- are now back in play for all competitors. If Romney can’t defang the resistance he encountered from those voters in 2008, he faces the threat that they will eventually consolidate behind another contender, such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, with potentially wider support than Huckabee demonstrated last time. "The risk for Romney is that some other candidate with broader appeal may attract them, someone who could stitch together a majority coalition in a way that Huckabee was not going to do," says veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who is working for potential presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman.
(See also related Christian Post story.)