Now we see what Bill Clinton was talking about when he said it would take "a miracle" for Senator Clinton to win Iowa. Look at these numbers. InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion brings us their latest poll out of Iowa, the first to be taken since last week's Iowa debate (it was in the field from Dec. 16-17.)
This poll is interesting because not only does it factor in second choices, but it also breaks down the vote among 977 likely voters (MOE +/- 3%) and then, within that group, a subset of 633 highly likely voters (MOE +/- 4%.)
Results are as follows:
|Highly Likely Voters||Likely Voters|
Then when second choices (for those supporting candidates who don't meet the 15% viability threshold) are added in:
|Highly Likely Voters||Likely Voters|
As you can see, when second choices are factored in, Edwards is the clear winner, which has been conventional wisdom for a while. What would appear to go against the grain of conventional thought, however, is that Edwards performs better on the first ballot among LVs than he does among highly LVs, or to put it another way, the more the universe expands, the better Edwards does. That's not the way it was supposed to go down.
The internals of the poll are broken down into age and gender. Clinton remains the leader among women and voters over 65, Obama leads among the youngest voters and Edwards's support is more broad-based, although he consistently excels among male voters. One sign of trouble for Clinton is that when second choices are factored in, Edwards ends up beating Clinton among the demographics that favor her; on the other hand, Obama still beats Edwards among voters aged 18-29 and is competitive among the 30-44 age group after the second ballot.
Also, it should be mentioned that while undecideds make up 7.4 and 9.5% of likely and highly likely caucusgoers respectively, once second choices are added to the mix, undecideds are pushed, which appears to benefit Edwards. So, while I'm not convinced that Edwards would win as decisively as this poll would suggest, I do think, if these numbers are accurate, that at this moment he's slightly favored to prevail on January 3.
Update [2007-12-18 20:45:37 by Todd Beeton]:An interesting couple grafs from Yepsen in light of this new poll:
Proof of Edwards' uptick and Obama's jitters about him came Monday in Spencer, when Obama told a crowd: "Senator Edwards, who is a good guy, he's been talking a lot about 'I'm going to fight the lobbyists and the special interests in Washington.' Well, the question you have to ask is: Were you fighting for (citizens) when you were in the Senate?"[...]
It may also suggest Obama's internal polls are showing the Illinois senator has peaked. Some of Obama's people also suggest that a vote for Edwards is a wasted vote because he's a one-trick pony who can perform only in Iowa. They say Edwards has so little campaign infrastructure in the subsequent states that he couldn't capitalize on a win in the state, while Obama could. It's a suggestion Edwards strongly denies.
We also shouldn't forget that an Edwards surge in Iowa is actually really good news for Clinton, especially now that operation lower expectations is underway. At this point A. she's not expected to win Iowa and B. her best case New Hampshire scenario is a weakened Obama out of Iowa, which Edwards will happily oblige.
Update [2007-12-18 20:50:34 by Jerome Armstrong]:Insider Advantage now has a PR out about the poll, and from the looks of the topline numbers, it appears, if you want to take all your stock from one poll, that the pundits are not blowing smoke when they talk about the Edwards being the 'sleeper' in Iowa.
Obama's closer than it appears though:
Edwards leads with 30 percent in a poll of Democratic voters who said they intend to participate in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses, followed by Clinton with 26 percent and Obama with 24 percent. When the sample was narrowed to the most likely caucus-goers, based on several questions, Obama leads Edwards by less than a percentage point with 27 percent, with Clinton in third place at 24 percent.
Edwards holds a significant advantage, however, among a group who could be key to the first contest of the presidential year: those who say their first choice is someone other than the top three. Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, candidates who poll less than 15 percent in the first vote at each caucus around the state are eliminated, and their supporters get a second chance to vote for another candidate.
Under both screens, Edwards leads as the second choice of these voters, with Clinton trailing Obama.
As for the Republicans:
The Republican race is a duel between Huckabee, with 28 percent in this poll, and Romney, with 25 percent.
Rudy Giuliani, who has led most national polls of the Republican candidates, garnered only is in 6th place in this poll, behind Fred Thompson, with 10 percent, John McCain, with 9 percent, and Ron Paul, with 6 percent, in addition to the two frontrunners.
...In the tighter voter screen, the frontrunners change places: Romney leads with 28 percent, to Huckabee's 25 percent.
There's been a number of news articles as well about Thompson making a late surge in Iowa. Not really here yet. Just about two weeks to go.