Two New Iowa Polls, Two Different Results

As we've seen so many times before, two new polls released out of Iowa today tell two entirely different stories. The Research 2000 poll (500 LVs, 12/10-13, MOE 4.5%) has Obama up 9% over Clinton while the latest Diageo/Hotline poll (569 LVs, 12/7-12, MOE 4%) shows Obama and Clinton tied for first.

Diageo/ HotlineResearch 2000 (Nov.)RCP 5-poll Ave.
Obama2733 (25)29.8
Clinton2724 (27)26.8
Edwards2224 (21)21.8
Richardson89 (10)7.7
Biden53 (4)4.3
Dodd11 (1)
Kucinich11 (1)
Undecided85 (11)

One thing both polls agree on is that, technically, Iowa is still a statistical tie. One aspect of both polls that demonstrates the momentum Obama has generated in the state though is on the crucial second choice question. Obama is clearly eating into Edwards's traditional lead on this measure, even besting Edwards in the R2000 poll.

Diageo/ HotlineResearch 2000
Edwards2525
Obama2329
Clinton1821

Both polls also asked about experience versus new ideas/direction and the results are surprising. In the Diageo/Hotline poll, voters say they value "new direction" over "experience" 50% to 25% yet Clinton, the "experienced" candidate, ties Obama, the "new direction" candidate, overall. In the Research 2000 poll on the other hand, voters say they value "experience" over "new ideas" 43% to 35% yet here Obama is 9% up. The reason seems to be that Obama is eroding concerns about his lack of experience as 36% of those who consider experience the most important issue when voting support him (vs. 46% for Clinton.) Both polls still find Clinton with credibility as a candidate who would bring a "new direction" or "new ideas;" her advantage over Obama on experience is still much greater than his advantage over her on new direction yet he is either tied with her or beating her among all voters. It's not that people's minds are changing about who has the most experience, it's just that Obama's lack of experience is becoming less and less of a problem for him.

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