For Republicans, Falling in Love Is Hard to Do

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HERE’S another way Republican voters tend to be different from Democratic voters: They like — no, love — their presidential candidates. Not always, of course. But from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush to Dwight Eisenhower, Republicans voters have displayed a zeal for their candidates that Democrats could only envy.

Which is what makes this Republican presidential contest so striking. It is hard to think of another campaign when Republicans have seemed less excited about their choices. That was the unmistakable lesson of the rapid ascension in recent polls of Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, the latest in a line of Republican flavors of the month. A New York Times/CBS News poll last week found that none of the Republican candidates — not even the suddenly hot Mr. Huckabee — was viewed favorably by even half of Republican voters.

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