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WI: McCain Draws Votes From Huckabee's Conservative Base

03/28/2008 02:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sen. John McCain has notched up another win in the race for the GOP nomination. The Arizona senator won Wisconsin's "winner-take-all" primary Tuesday, and, with 82 percent of the votes counted, now leads 55 percent to Gov. Mike Huckabee's 27 percent.

As is being reported in The Washington Post's political blog:

In early exit polls, conservatives split evenly. It was a stark improvement for McCain, who has struggled to counter Huckabee's appeal among evangelicals and other GOP base voters. He also won convincingly among Republicans.

Huckabee still appeared to be winning among those who said they are "very conservative." But in a sign that McCain was beginning to unify the party behind him, about two-thirds of those voters said they would be satisfied if he is the nominee.

Huckabee's mediocre showing among middle-of-the-road conservatives could be a sign that he's finally losing steam against the McCain juggernaut. The former Arkansas governor's plucky campaign has based its insurgent status on its appeal to social conservatives.

But tonight's win in Wisconsin means that McCain has been successful in wooing these same conservatives -- however reluctantly -- into his camp. This sets up the March 4 Texas primary as Huckabee's last stand. If he can't win there, he's probably finished.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Wisconsin weren't exactly shocked by tonight's results.

"I'm not surprised.....McCain and Obama have the momentum, and it very well might continue to give both the nominations," said Steven Brody, the GOP chairman for Iowa County.