December 20th, 2007
05:17 AM ET
6 years ago

Down to the wire in Iowa: Dems in a dead heat

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses and it
appears to be a dead heat in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in the Hawkeye State, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll out Thursday morning.

Thirty percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers support Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York as the nominee, with Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois at 28 percent and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina at 26 percent.

With the poll's sampling error at plus or minus four percentage points, it's a virtual tie for the top spot in Iowa, the first state to vote in the race for the White House.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is at seven percent with the remaining Democratic candidates all in the lower single digits.

On the Republican side, 33 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers support former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as the nominee, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in second place at 25 percent and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 11 percent.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee are tied at nine percent, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at six percent, with the rest of the Republican field in the lower single digits.

There are only 14 days left until Iowans head out to caucus, but the survey suggests that many voters have yet to make up their minds.

One in three likely Democratic caucus goers say they're still trying to decide whom to
support.

That number's even higher among likely Republican caucus-goers, with 40 percent still undecided on their choice for the nominee.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland warns that "all these figures should be treated with extra caution, because it is extraordinarily difficult for polls to accurately assess who will attend the caucuses, and Iowans are notorious for making their minds up late in the game."

The survey indicates that Iraq is still the top issue for Democrats, with one in three likely Democratic caucus-goers saying the war is the most important issue in their choice for president.

Health care follows at 27 percent with the economy one point back.

"Clinton is seen as the candidate who is best able to handle the economy, Iraq, and health care - the top three issues of concern to Democratic caucus-goers - with her biggest advantage on health care," says Holland.

The economy appears to be the most pressing issue for Republicans, with one in four likely Republican caucus-goers saying the economy is the most important issue in their choice for president.

That's followed by illegal immigration at 20 percent, abortion at 18 percent, terrorism at 17 percent and the Iraq war at 12 percent.

It appears Iowa Republicans think Romney would do the best job among the GOP White House hopefuls in handling the economy, with 34 percent of likely GOP caucus-goers choosing Romney, 11 points ahead of Huckabee.

"Although Huckabee is the favorite candidate of likely GOP caucus-goers, they admit that other candidates would do a better job on nearly every issue tested.

For some, such as terrorism, immigration and Iraq, he finishes in third place," says Holland.

"What's driving the Huckaboom? Abortion.

It's the only issue tested on which Huckabee ranks first, indicating that even though he is
not a single-issue candidate, he may have single-issue appeal."

It appears the Huckabee vote is the born-again vote, with the poll suggesting his support among Iowans who say they are born-again or evangelical Christians is nearly 30 points higher than among non-evangelicals.

Huckabee served as a Baptist pastor before entering politics. Romney has a 10 point edge among non-evangelical voters.

"There is also a surprising gender gap among likely GOP caucus-goers," says Holland.

The poll indicates women prefer Huckabee over Romney by a 40 percent to 18 percent margin.

Among men, it's Romney 30 percent and Huckabee 28 percent.

On the Democratic side, Clinton is the favorite of women, older voters, liberals and those making less than $50,000 a year.

Obama has an edge among moderates and younger voters; Edwards does best in union households and among married voters.


Filed under: Iowa • Poll
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sam IA

    A little primer on Iowa caucus reality versus the crap you read from the poll. I will be caucusing for Biden and he will probably not have enough supporters to get a delegate to the county convention so i will go to the quorum of the candidate who will give one of us a seat at the county convention taking as many of Biden's supporters as I can with me.
    This is true politics and democracy folks. You meet with the people you see every day and you discuss issues and choose who you will support. It is based on reality and not some hate advertisment you watched before heading to the polling station and therefore it is nearly impossible to get a reading on true candidate support. PS. My home phone is turned off for a month before the caucuses.

    December 20, 2007 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  2. Theresa, Sound Beach NY

    These polls are a disgrace. based on 400 likely Republican voters is not a good sample to say someone is leading or not. And why don't ya post the actually questions that were asked as well so we can see how these people were manipulted? ie Frank Luntz. Thought CNN had a more global view. sad.

    December 20, 2007 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  3. Anon Manchester, NH

    NEWS FLASH: This just in from NH's Union Leader – On the Democratic side, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton :) again leads Sen. Barack Obama, 38 to 26 percent, after being in a dead heat last week. Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards is third with 14 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson fourth at 8 percent.

    Riding the bounce from his appearance with Oprah Winfrey last week drawing over 8,000 people, Obama pulled statistically even with Clinton.

    Of the likely Democratic voters, 65 percent say they have not definitely decided on a candidate. Of those who have, 54 percent of Clinton's supporters say they have definitely decided to vote for the former First Lady, while 23 percent of Obama's supporters say they definitely will vote for the Illinois Senator.

    Obama is more popular among Democratic leaning independent voters, but just barely, with a 33 to 31 percent edge over Clinton with 17 percent favoring Edwards.

    December 20, 2007 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  4. Frank, San Diego

    The really interesting result is that Edwards is the leading "second choice" at 26% (to 22 and 21), outside the margin of error.

    Given the complicated rules that Iowa uses in its caucuses (forcing people to move to their second choice candidates in multiple rounds of voting) don't be surprised to see Edwards do better than expected.

    December 20, 2007 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. Anonymous

    David Yepsen – the Des Moines Register's veteran political columnist posted his toughest entry this year, lecturing Obama for informing out-of-state Iowa college students in a piece of campaign literature that they are eligible to participate in the caucuses, now just over two weeks away."These are the Iowa caucuses," Yepsen wrote on Nov. 30. "Asking people who are 'not from Iowa' to participate in them changes the nature of the event." :(

    Not many out-of-state students will be around on Jan. 3, and even if they are, it is 100 percent legal for them to participate. But the offending Obama flier has since dropped out of circulation.

    SEEMS THE GOLDEN BOY'S SKELETONS ARE STARTING TO FALL OUT OF THE CLOSET:
    per the Political Hot Topics
    (Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
    Compiled by Lindsey Pope
    CNN Washington Bureau

    New York Times: Obama's Vote in Illinois Was Often Just 'Present'
    In 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate.

    The Hill: Lobbyists On Obama's '08 Payroll
    Three political aides on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) payroll were registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations, including Wal-Mart, British Petroleum and Lockheed Martin, while they received payments from his campaign, according to public documents.

    While the grass get any greener ;)

    December 20, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. Jack Berkeley, CA

    David Yepsen, the Des Moines Register's veteran political columnist posted his toughest entry this year, lecturing Obama for informing out-of-state Iowa college students in a piece of campaign literature that they are eligible to participate in the caucuses, now just over two weeks away. "These are the Iowa caucuses," Yepsen wrote on Nov. 30. "Asking people who are 'not from Iowa' to participate in them changes the nature of the event."

    Not many out-of-state students will be around on Jan. 3, and even if they are, it is 100 percent legal for them to participate. But the offending Obama flier has since dropped out of circulation.

    HAVE THE SKELETON'S FINALLY STARTED TO FALL OUT OF SENATOR OBAMA'S CLOSET?

    Political Hot Topics
    (Today's top political stories from news organizations across the country)
    Compiled by Lindsey Pope
    CNN Washington Bureau

    New York Times: Obama's Vote in Illinois Was Often Just 'Present'
    In 1999, Barack Obama was faced with a difficult vote in the Illinois legislature — to support a bill that would let some juveniles be tried as adults, a position that risked drawing fire from African-Americans, or to oppose it, possibly undermining his image as a tough-on-crime moderate. (Along w/ at least 7 'Present' votes on abortion)

    The Hill: Lobbyists On Obama's '08 Payroll
    Three political aides on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) payroll were registered lobbyists for dozens of corporations, including Wal-Mart, British Petroleum and Lockheed Martin, while they received payments from his campaign, according to public documents.

    Can the grass get any greener ;)

    December 20, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. Jack Berkeley, CA

    Doesn't appear that Senator Obama is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's DREAM after all (Wonder if Oprah is going to take him to task now – like she did the author of the book she promoted for her Book Club "A Million Little Pieces" conned her too? Will he still be her ONE?)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20obama.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Among those, Mr. Obama did not vote yes or no on a bill that would allow certain victims of sexual crimes to petition judges to seal court records relating to their cases. He also voted present on a bill to impose stricter standards for evidence a judge is permitted to consider in imposing a criminal sentence.

    On the sex crime bill, Mr. Obama cast the lone present vote in a 58-to-0 vote.

    Mr. Obama’s campaign said he believed that the bill violated the First Amendment. The bill passed 112-0-0 in the House and 58-0-1 in the Senate.

    Mr. Obama was also the sole present vote on a bill that easily passed the Senate that would require teaching respect for others in schools. He also voted present on a measure to prohibit sex-related shops from opening near schools or places of worship. It passed the Senate.

    In both of those cases, his campaign said, he was trying to avoid mandates on local authorities.

    It seems the IL Senate records are finally catching up to him :( Is Senator Obama REALLY a champion of womens' rights, an advocate for victim's of sexual crimes, and a protector of children?

    December 20, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Osama Bin Forgotten is somewhere in his cave, laughing at Americans whose only issue is abortion or maybe gay marriage.

    With health care, unemployment, jobs leaving the country, defense, terrorism, global warming, immigration, energy just to mention a few challenges facing America, some people have nothing better to do than meddle in other people's lives.

    And do these single issue voters support health care for uninsured children, school lunches programs, no child left behind funding or even adopt one or two extra children?

    From what I hear, no they don't. They are firmly convinced that they want less spending, fewer taxes and a government that stays out of people's lives.

    Vote for your choice, but for God's sake, vote on a broader viewpoint.

    December 20, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. Beth & Jeff Chicago, IL - HILLARY IN '08

    To Sam in Iowa – thank you for being candid. Too many of the posters here don't understand how the Caucuses work.

    What we wonder though, is if it isn't time for Iowa to rethink the residency requirements to Caucus? Do that many out-of-state-college students usually show up?

    Happy Holidays in Iowa from the Rest of the Country :)

    December 20, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. Scott, Knoxville Tennessee

    I would only disagree with the end of the
    article which says that Clinton has an
    edge among liberals. I would vehemently disagree. The moderates within the democratic party are the people who are making less than 50,000 dollars a year and are generally more socially conservative. The liberals in the party, myself included, are college-educated people are are earning
    above 50,000 dollars. When I read that, it didn't seem to add up correctly.

    December 20, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Mike, Boston, MA

    Hey Sam in IA,

    Do whatever you can to get Biden to the next step. He is the only guy I like and unfortunately, since I live in MA, I will not get to vote for him unless he's still in the race.

    Do whatever you can! He's the only experienced one and the one I feel most comfortable with being the next President.

    December 20, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Ajay Jain

    Your title says "Down to the wire in Iowa: Dems in a dead heat". Would it not be fair to the leading candidate Hillary to say STATISTICAL dead heat? Just a thought for FAIR and Balanced reporting.

    People, pollsters, pundits give undue importance to the Iowa caucus. Isn’t it time to break the back of this myth of Iowa’s importance? They haven’t picked a winner since 1976. And Clinton and Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in Iowa. Enough with the rural pandering.

    What has happened to Analysis at CNN. Can somebody tell the public that the 2008 primary season / cycle is DIFFERENT from yesteryears! We are talking January 3rd caucusing next to the New Year. Then New Hampshire then South Carolina THEN:

    SUPER DUPER TUESDAY. Its going to be different this time.

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/

    December 21, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |

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