December 3rd, 2007
11:00 AM ET
10 years ago

In Iowa, who's beating whom?

A new poll out of Iowa Monday shows Clinton ahead of Obama. Another poll released Sunday showed Obama over Clinton.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An AP poll released Monday seems to show Hillary Clinton on top of the Democratic primary field in three critical early-voting states.

The survey, which comes less than two days after a similar Des Moines Register poll showed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama leading the pack in that state by a similar slim margin, highlights the fluid nature of the race in Iowa.

The poll finds the New York senator drawing strong support from crucial Democratic constituencies like women and older voters, who tend to turn out in greater numbers on Election Day than other voters.

Meanwhile, Obama's biggest support - particularly in Iowa - comes from younger and better-educated voters, liberals and Democratic-leaning independents. John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator who is fighting for a share of the lead in Iowa, has yet to lay claim to any major primary voting bloc.

In Iowa, Clinton is essentially tied with Obama, 31 percent to 26 percent, with Edwards at 19 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at 10 percent. Clinton leads Obama by a larger margin in New Hampshire, 38 to 19 percent, with Edwards at 15 percent and Richardson at 10 percent. In South Carolina, Clinton appears to dominate the field with 45 percent of the vote. Obama is preferred by 31 percent and Edwards10 percent.

But the AP poll also appears to reveal some potential landmines for the New York senator.

While Democrats in all three states overwhelmingly call Clinton the Democrat with the best chance of winning the White House, that honor doesn't carry the weight it did four years ago, when it Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, used it capture the party’s nomination. Fewer than one in four say they would prefer an electable candidate to one with whom they agree on the issues - more than 10 percentage points fewer than last cycle in Iowa and New Hampshire.

More troubling for Clinton, both Obama and Edwards have more support than the New York senator as a second choice in the Hawkeye State – a distinction that could be vital on caucus night when candidates with weak support are eliminated in early voting. In addition, 18 percent of Iowa Democrats entirely rule out voting for her. The only other candidate who approaches that figure is Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, at 12 percent.

Even the best numbers for Hillary may not quite as positive as they appear. CNN Polling Director Keating Holland pointed out that the length of the survey – it was conducted over more than two weeks, from November 7 through 25 – means that impact of Obama’s surge in recent weeks may not be reflected, since those results have been combined with interviews from earlier in the month. “Does this poll reflect how Iowans feel today? Maybe not,” said Holland.

The telephone surveys in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina had margins of error of plus or minus 5.5, 5 and 6 percentage points respectively.

Filed under: Iowa • New Hampshire • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Will I Am

    I don't know about the polls but Clinton's support is slipping among blacks if you listen to black radio, that could swing in Obama's favor in the South, especially in SC where African American make up nearly 50% of the electorate.

    December 3, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and every state that wants to see the end of the right wing reign must vote for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is just an egomaniac and an inexperienced distraction. The Democrats have a mission to accomplish and it doesn't include feeding Obama's ego. The Democrats want to keep power in the House and the Senate and seize the executive branch as well to save the right wing lead Supreme Court. Obama does not care about the American people. If he did, he would have supported Hillary Clinton from the start. Instead he let the Republicans and the Hillary haters fund his campaign, and now he is attacking Hillary. Hillary is the only Democrat that can BEAT THE REPUBLICANS.

    Obama’s shady tactics will not work. The American people are not blind and stupid. The American people are all not haters. The American people know why the haters attack Hillary. The American people can’t hide behind fear disguised as hate, lies and demagoguery anymore. The Republicans and Obama (a Republican-lite) have nothing on Hillary. They look for petty crap to sensationalize in the media. It burns my ear when I hear people repeat the hate that spew from the mouths of the demagogues. The whole Fox News is against Hillary and they’ve devoted most of their air time to attack Hillary. All you hear them say is “her unfavorables are too high”, and “she’s unelectable”. Are they kidding me? They are trying to get people to not vote for Hillary based on their lies. Do they honestly think that the American people are stupid enough to listen to Fox News?

    Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate, the most experienced candidate and she’s READY TO LEAD ON DAY ONE. This is our country. Let's show the haters, liars and demagogues who runs America. Hillary Clinton running this race for the American people.

    December 3, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. anon New York, NY

    Every morning, I type in "Clinton" and "Obama" into a Google News Search.

    I can tell it's been a great couple days for Obama.

    -flattering Time cover story
    -up arrow in Newsweek's CW box.
    -Atlantic Monthly cover
    -great press about his strong and savvy field organization in Iowa.
    -leading among Iowa women by 5 points.
    -endorsemetns from the Des Moines mayor
    -Clinton attacking him over petty issues, like him saying he wanted to be President in kidnergarten. It makes her look like she's worried.
    -numerous general electon matchups showing him defeating all Republicans, while Clinton is either tied or losing to same Republicans.
    -the media has given Obama good reviews for his more pointed remarks on the hypocrosy of Clinton's "experience" argument (ie: "She wasn't Secretary of the Treasury."

    I think if he avoids making a major blunder, and if he continues to strongly defend himself from baseless or misleading attacks from Clinton, he is well-positioned to win the nomination and the general election.

    December 3, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Why Iowa?

    The real questio we should be asking is why Iowa continues to have the importance it does in selecting the democratic nominee. Only one democratic candidate has ever won the Iowa Caucus and gone on to win the general election. That was Bill Clinton in 1996 who was the imcumbent president and ran unopposed. While Jimmy Carter was able to win the White House in 1976 Iowans still prefered undecided to him by a significant margin. Any serious democrat who allows the results of the Iowa Caucus to influnce their vote for president is an idiot. Those who claim that Iowans do such a great job as our presidental selectors need to get familiar with the facts. These are not objective fair minded people who are taking their duty seriously. In 1992 76% of these people voted for Tom Harkin their favored son. Not exactly proof of their detached objectivity and fair assessment of the candidates. Anyone interested in the future of the democratic party should work to remove Iowa from its underserving position as first in the nation.

    December 3, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Wayne, Silver Spring

    The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in collaboration with the Associated Press, was conducted Nov. 7-25

    Too bad this is an old poll!

    December 3, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Surrealist, Fort Myers, Fl

    For all those out there who think the economy is so great. Go to the Department of Labor statistics–check out the CPI from 1987-2007...then check out average wages 1987-2007. You can go into any sector (well except highy paid professionals and congress–their pay grew significantly)–and see why middle class Americans are looking for some changes in Washington.

    December 3, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Tom, New York, NY

    Ryan, of New Jersey,

    Oops... your facts are wrong.... you stated that Hillary's support is primarily amongst the wealthy... when actually it is the exact opposite...she is supported much more heavily by the poor and lower class are correct in that she is supported by more women and is actually Barack that is supported more by the wealthy in the polls....

    I think you might have meant to say that more of the big corporate donors are supportive of Hillary than Barack...

    Anyways, just thought I would straighten out your confusion

    December 3, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Thomas, Chattanooga, TN

    Who cares about Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina? Is anyone really stupid enough to let a primary in another state influence who they want to vote for? Research the candidates and make your OWN choice!

    December 3, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. TB, FL

    hahahaha Hey Vince Foster...that was pretty funny!!! hahahaha...I'm surprised CNN posted that one...

    December 3, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    All of these polls on Iowa combined with the other early primary states prove two things:

    1.) It's too close to call Iowa
    2.) Obama needs to win Iowa to get some momentum because Clinton has a clear lead everywhere else.

    Facts are facts, Obama needs Iowa, Clinton just needs to hold on. December will be very telling indeed and January is going to be the end of the road. I'm glad it's over soon so we can see an end to these over-hyped media stories saying Obama's ahead one week and then take it back the next week to say Clinton's back.

    The real story isn't who's ahead, it's who will win Iowa and what impact will that have in other early states. We'll see how it plays out soon enough.

    December 3, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Seam, Philly PA

    These polls are so stupid and meaningless. Anyone following these polls to make any logical sense of the race is a moron.

    December 3, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Frank, San Diego

    The degree of misunderstanding of polls is remarkable, a problem for which I largely blame the media. Let's hit a few quick pointers.

    First, the number of people actually polled doesn't matter that much, except to the extent that it yields a particular margin of error. That, rather than the number of respondents, is what you really want to look at.

    Second, the question of who is polled. Almost every reputable poll uses a stratified random sample. That means it takes a random sample from different "strata" of the population (age, gender, and so on). They also aim to poll either registered voters or "likely voters" and should (somewhere in the fine print) tell you which it is.

    Third, significant changes in results in a single poll do not (necessarily) indicate either a problem with the poll or large shifts in opinion. For one thing, nearly every poll makes some effort to nudge undecided respondents one way or the other so as to more accurately represent the true contours of public opinion. The methods used range from gentle to forceful and, for that reason, can register the same actual shift in opinion as either significant or minor. It doesn't indicate incompetence, bias, or dishonesty. Its just an artifact of the different methodologies being used.

    So, don't over interpret poll results. Don't question the pollster's veracity, unless its a partisan pollster with a questionable record or someone working for Fox News. And don't worry about small (or even large) shifts in the numbers of your favorite candidate. Try to look at long term trends. Look for floors and ceilings and don't get excited when new results fall within previously defined ranges for each candidate.

    December 3, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. STOP Whinning, Holiday, Florida

    I am tired of hearing CNN called the Clinton News Network. If you don't like or trust CNN stop watching it. Maybe Fox News is more your cup of tea.

    December 3, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Bill, IA

    It always amazes me that people who are supposed to be so "intelligent" and "open-minded" allow themselves to be so easily controlled by the republican thought machine. We say that we are wise to the republican ways of manipulation, yet we allow them to dictate the way we feel about our candidates. Folks, they (the GOP) have been demonizing Bill and Hillary Clinton since 1992. They have called them every dirty name in the book...why? Because they knew that they could be effective agents of change. Now to hear democrats using the same criticisms of Hillary that the GOP has used for decades, one has to wonder...who is beating the drum to your march?

    December 3, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. SD, NY, NY

    Obama has the support of the college kids; these are exactly the folks who keep spending all their time writing bloggs and posting messages. They are, by no means, representing the true US. Hillary is ahead again in Iowa and will win the nomination easily.

    December 3, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. AJ, IL

    All you Hillary supporters are just upset that Hillary is in a race that should could lose. Obama is in a statistically tie with Edwards and "Billary"! That's right, I said it, "Billary"! We all know that without Bill, Hillary has virtually no Democratic support. Bill Clinton have break or dominate Hillary's rise to the Presidency. If Bill Clinton were to endorse Obama (or some other candidate), for instance, Hillary's presidency would crash faster than sub-prime mortgaging. But if Bill Clinton were to pass-away, Hillary would gain Bill sympathizers and be able to claim that her and Bill did great things for America in the 1990s without much fear of attacks by her opponents (Democrats or Republicans). It may be a dark situation to discuss, but politically it is intriguing.

    December 3, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. John, Va.

    The Obama campaign announced the endorsement today of John Adams, Brigadier General, US Army (retired). Adams retired from the Army in September after serving for more than thirty years. His final assignment was as Deputy United States Military Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Adams joins a growing list of high ranking members of the military who have endorsed Barack Obama.
    “The challenges we are facing both domestically and globally require a willingness to change the way we approach problems. I am proud to have the support of General Adams and I look forward to relying on his sound judgment on international issues and his knowledge of the challenges people are facing in Arizona,” said Senator Barack Obama.

    "Barack Obama’s ability to listen and inspire will allow him to shape a new domestic strategy of working together as Americans to safeguard our constitutional liberties and secure the blessings of prosperity for all our citizens,” said John Adams, Brigadier General, US Army (retired). “His sound judgment and ability to make tough choices under pressure will help him to shape a new international strategy of cooperating with our friends abroad to enhance global peace and security. We need his vision and integrity to address America's domestic and international challenges.”

    December 3, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. W.D., Silver Spring, MD

    The picture and the story here should be Obama's surge and continue gains!!! And it is true that when Clinton was ahead by 2 to 4 points every one was saying she had a slight lead. Now that Obama is ahead with the same points the story is they are in a dead heat!!! What gives? I guess He will get his headlines when he wins on Jan 3.

    December 3, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. faith,lowell,ma

    Wow, that picture is like Hillary has already worn the elections. How decieving CNN has become!

    December 3, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Ryan Theriot, Chicago, IL

    Anyone who still considers themself a democrat or a republican after the last 20 years is living in a fantasy land that I can't begin to fathom. How long must we be lied to? How long can we allow the corruption to last? If Hillary wins we will have 24 (possibly 28) straight years of rule by two familes. During this time these families have restructured out government towards a communist dictatorship. They are even able to declare a state of emergency without having to prove cause. During this state of emergency Congress has no power, and cannot act for 6 months. This country is insane if it allows this to continue.

    Only Ron Paul fights for our freedom. Please do your research.

    December 3, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. Maggie, New York City

    What Rove really wants is a dirty fight on the dems side. It can only benefit his republican party.

    December 3, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. Joe, Boston, MA

    Biden all the way. He's gaining in the polls and when people finally take a look at all these candidates they'll realize he's the only one with REAL experience and the only one who will beat any Republican in the general election.

    Come on Iowa vote for the one with experience and remember we need someone who can actually take on any of those republicans in the race.

    December 3, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Steven Stewart, Portland, Oregon

    I am tired of hearing CNN called the Clinton News Network. If you don't like or trust CNN stop watching it. Maybe Fox News is more your cup of tea.

    Posted By STOP Whinning, Holiday, Florida : December 3, 2007 2:07 pm

    Tis very true as Fox News shows clinton with a twenty percent lead overall across the nation. Why is Iowa and NH the national pickers? We need to have a national selection, rather than the citzens of Iowa and NH choosing for us.

    December 3, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. Les WA

    I don't think Obama supporters will like this new poll by AP.

    Good on go girl!


    December 3, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Sabi Kanani, Dallas TX

    "In Iowa, Clinton is essentially tied with Obama, 31 percent to 26 percent, with Edwards at 19 percent"

    –So, is Clinton essentially tied with Edwards too? Clinton News Network at it again.

    December 3, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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