The media shouldn't be at all surprised about the surgence of Mike Huckabee in many polls, including in Iowa, where this poll says he's leading all Republican candidates. The first indications of this surge was after the Iowa straw poll back in August, and even though it's a made-up contest where candidates get to give money to people to vote for them and the richest guy in the race won, it seemed to mean a lot to Huckabee. But even besides this, the media should have recognized that voters at large and especially Iowa Republicans dislike four things in candidates: being a senator, being a putz, being a bullshitter, and being a New Yorker / New Englander.
For some reason, there are always several members of the U.S. Senate who believe that being a U.S. Senator is a stepping stone to the presidency. You senators in this presidential race are only fooling yourselves. The only person to ascend to the office of the President directly from being a member of the Senate since Warren G. Harding was John F. Kennedy, and, well, as the Lloyd Bentsen famously said, you're no Jack Kennedy. Fortunately for Mike Huckabee, he happens to be a governor.
No one likes a putz, which is the reason Bill Richardson is slipping in polls. Being a putz is hard to define, but being overweight and tongue tied in debates are two key indicators. Fortunately for Mike Huckabee, he is perhaps best known for getting his lard butt in shape through diet and exercise, and no longer carries any visible putz-like qualities. Huckabee is certainly less putzy than Fred Thompson, which is the other candidate most like him in his views.
Being a bull-shitter may work for some, but its usually best to save all your best bullshitting for when you have already achieved the highest office you're gunning for. This will hurt Mitt Romney when the primaries come around, and it may even hurt Rudy Giuliani, one of our generations finest bullshitters (and I mean that mostly as a compliment). Fortunately for Mike Huckabee, he is viewed as a straight-talker, even though somebody else already stole that idea for their bus.
Lastly, New Yorkers and New Englanders are always viewed more scrutinizingly by Republicans and Independents. It's generally the opinion of the rest of the country that those guys are obnoxious, a viewpoint reinforced by ESPN's incessant coverage of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry and the existence of Ben Affleck. It's why John Kerry lost the last election (we didn't realize how much of a putz he was until we thought about it later), it's why Michael Dukakis never stood a chance, and it's why Hillary Clinton won't win the general election. Okay, that and the bullshitting thing. Iowa Republicans have been looking for a candidate with flyover country cred, but without being too twangy (Thompson) or Strangeloveian (Tom Tancredo). And now, as John Madden would say, boom! Mike Huckabee hits the hole and keeps his feet moving!