Huckabee, Obama sweep up victories in Iowa

|PIC1|Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses Thursday night, propelling their campaigns further into the national spotlight as they head to New Hampshire.

On the Republican side, Huckabee won with 34 per cent - ahead of Mitt Romney, who had 25 per cent. Fred Thompson and John McCain trailed with 13 per cent, Ron Paul with 10 percent, and Rudy Giuliani at 3 percent, according to The Associated Press.

Barack Obama led the Democratic Party with 38 percent of the vote, followed by John Edwards with 30 percent and Hillary Clinton third with 29 percent.

"A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government," said Huckabee in celebration of his win in Iowa, according to AP. "It starts here, but it doesn't end here. It goes all the way through the other states and ends at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, has made his faith the centerpiece of his campaign, often citing Bible passages on the stump and even going as far as describing himself as a "Christian leader" in an advertisement aired in Iowa.

His religious campaign tone is credited for his runaway win in a state where last night 3 out of every 5 Republican caucus-goers were self-described born-again or evangelical Christians, according to CNN. Huckabee won Romney by a 2-to-1 margin in this voting bloc.

"I think the evangelical Christians came out for him (Huckabee); the message was very clear," said CNN contributor William Bennett.

"He is a man of deep conviction and I think people saw that, they couldn't make up their minds about Romney, and decided to stick with [Huckabee]," Bennett noted.

In addition, Huckabee overwhelmingly won the female vote, garnering about 40 percent of the support from women voters compared to only 24 percent by Romney.

"People really are more important than the purse, and what a great lesson for America to learn," said the former Arkansas governor, who was outspent by millions of dollars by Romney - his chief rival in Iowa.

For Democratic caucus-goers, more than half of them said they wanted to vote for the candidate that would bring about needed change in the country. Democratic winner Obama has been campaigning with just that message, promising to bring change to Washington and the nation.

"[In] big cities and small cities, you came together to say, 'We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come,'" said Obama at a victory rally last night, according to AP.

Voter turnout last night was record high despite the cold night thanks to campaign organization that spent much effort and money to get voters out to the caucuses.

Estimates hold that 220,588 Democrats showed up last night to vote compared to the previous turnout of 124,000, according to AP. Meanwhile, Republicans also made a strong appearance with 114,000 people in comparison to the Republican caucuses in 2000 that drew 87,666 participants.

The next stop for both parties is the Granite State - New Hampshire - on Jan. 8.