Sunday, December 30, 2007

Huckabust, Edwards Surge

The first Iowa poll after Christmas campaign break finds the Huckabee implosion has begun in the Republican contest with Romney regaining the lead and a dead-heat among the three leading Democratic candidates>:

“On the Democratic side, the race is about as close as it can get, but keep an eye on Edwards,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the survey. “Edwards has really moved up since our last poll. Obama and Clinton have each slipped a little bit.”

[. . .]

While the survey shows a virtual statistical tie, it also shows Edwards with some momentum heading into the final days. He's gained 3 percentage points since McClatchy-MSNBC polled Iowa before the holidays, while Clinton lost 4 points and Obama lost 3 points.

Also gaining were Richardson and Biden, each picking up 3 points.

The second tier is particularly important in Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, where a candidate can win delegates only if they register at least 15 percent support in each town hall-like precinct meeting. Voters whose candidates don’t make that threshold can support someone else.

As of now, that appears to help Edwards.
In the Republican contest, Huckabee’s support dropped 8 percent in the last three weeks. While Huckabee's support fell, Romney regained 7 percent:
Iowa Republicans gave him their highest favorable rating, and he ranked first among GOP voters looking for experience, leadership and the ability to win in November. He also led among voters who ranked immigration, taxes or terrorism their top concerns.

A key gain: He now has the support of 27 percent of the state’s evangelical Christian Republicans, up sharply from 8 percent several weeks ago. Concerns about his Mormon faith appear to have ebbed.
Don't bet the farm on these poll numbers. Polling for the Iowa caucuses isn't easy and the voters remain fickle. One in three Iowa Republicans and one in five Iowa Democrats say they might still change their preference.

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