A new USA Today/Gallup poll fits a trend other surveys have been pointing toward, namely that the front-runners in both parties are slowly losing their headlock on the election. Hillary Clinton, though still in the lead nationally, has lost 11 points in a month while Barack Obama and John Edwards have both picked up a few. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee, once firmly stuck in statistically insignificant territory, continues his climb, like that other famous Arkansan who surprised his way to his party’s nomination.

USA Today:

Clinton and Giuliani, who have topped each of 21 USA Today Polls taken this year, had never suffered such steep month-to-month drops before. And no contender in either party had scored as sharp a month-to-month boost as Huckabee.

“You can’t argue that this is an Iowa-only event; it clearly has gone nationwide,” Republican strategist Alex Vogel says of Huckabee’s rise. A Des Moines Register poll published Sunday showed him leading in Iowa. “The real question is not ‘Is it real?’ It’s ‘Can the campaign organization catch up fast enough?’ ” (The Des Moines Register and USA Today are owned by Gannett.)

Huckabee still has room to grow. Nearly half of those polled have either not heard of him or not formed an opinion about him.

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