January 4th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Americans mixed on early primary schedule

(CNN) - The candidates, the press corps, the national parties may all be griping about 2008's incredibly early and compressed primary calendar - but it seems the rest of the country may not share those complaints, according to a new survey.

A Gallup poll released Friday found that 49 percent of the country thinks it's a good thing that the caucuses and primaries begin in January. Another 27 percent say it's neither good nor bad. Just 22 percent are troubled by the unprecedented early start to the presidential selection process.

The fact that the contest may be a relatively short sprint didn't seem to trouble a majority of those surveyed, either: 45 percent said it was a good thing that both parties' nominees would likely be known by early February, and 18 percent more said it would be neither good nor bad. Thirty-six percent said they'd like to see the process last longer.

Americans are less enthusiastic about the king-maker role now filled by Iowa and New Hampshire. While 26 percent thought it was a good thing that those two states always weighed in first, 28 percent thought it was a bad thing. Forty-four percent were ambivalent about the current arrangement.

But those surveyed appeared overwhelmingly unhappy about the fact that most of them may not get the chance to cast a meaningful presidential primary vote: 71 percent said that it was a bad thing that the nominees are usually determined before many states hold their primaries or caucuses. Just 11 percent said it was a good thing, and 17 percent said it was neither good nor bad.

The survey of 1,008 Americans was conducted December 10-13, 2007, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Iowa • New Hampshire
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    A sad day for republicans...

    IOWA – Red State but more democrats turned out for the caucuses...

    For Democrats, in the prevoius years, the over 65 voters outnumbered 18-30 voters by 5:1....


    ..........if this is the trend for this year Democrats will not only get a Democratic president, but over 60 majority in the senate.

    If young people come out and vote, these homophobic, women hating, bible thumping, shove my faith down your throat old geezers, would never get elected.

    I might actually thank president Bush, thank you for destroying the republican party, and good ridence to both of you in 2009...oh yeah take Cheney with you too, don't care to see him ever again either.

    January 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Evelyn

    to Betty Kelso-Clough – I see that someone has explained that Democratic numbers are delegates not number of votes. I trust this shows that Obama really did pull off a great feat with approximately 80,000 votes. We shouldn't detract from his win by trying to compare him to another candidate in the republican party as both caucuses have different sets of rules.

    January 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    You're absolutely right James,
    Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and NJ should be included in what I wrote before.

    January 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. john williams san diego, ca.

    Iowa can go back to obscurity for four more years knowing that both of their caucuses winners will not lead their parties into the general election.

    January 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. jack

    Was Jan 3rd wasn't meant to block Obama from students who were backing him up in Iowa in huge numbers? Now let us see when school opens on jan 14th what will happen!

    January 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. jack

    Betty Kelso-Clough January 4, 2008 11:13 am ET

    Iowa Caucus–whats the big deal with Obama winning the Democratic vote? He got just over 900 votes while Huckabee got about 40,000. Although it was shown on the TV screen, I didn't hear any news comments on the difference in the number of votes. Looks like Huckabee was the really big winner with 97% more votes than Oba

    I disagree with you. I think Obama win came a time we needed change in a desperate way. Look, it is like we don't have a president in united states. We watched the elections, so please stop posting what is not over here!

    January 4, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. jack

    Anonymous January 4, 2008 11:34 am ET

    How many voters equal a 1% difference in Iowa. How large is the entire population of New Hampshire ? Neither state's outcomes should be given the media coverage that has been blasting at us continuously on the news.
    Those outcomes are just data points not decision points for anyone who thinks for themselves.
    Lets put this into perspective and develop a rational system with meaningful coverage not just irrational hype about change—of course, after the current presidency, change is imperative but I still don't have a clue about whose best to accomplish anything in our current system—a Democrat or Republican, an insider or outsider a man or a woman, a Christian or not. We are heading into dangerous territory when none of the candidates say anything of substance for fear of alienating a voting block.
    You must be a clinton supporter. What it is for the media is that they have done their analysis to know after Obama wins Iowa, 4days to newhempshire, wins there and goes to s. Carolina, then this elections are over with the Clintons!
    So, please stop diminishing the credibility of his win. First African American to win in Iowa?, to me he didn't even get the media that he deserved!

    January 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. ZsaZsaATL

    *High 5* @ JT Spangler!! LOL

    January 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Ted

    When Obama talk of change it really resonates with the people. When Clinton say it, it is like a stolen slogan. She has stolen every style that Obama is running with and that is why she is not origina!

    January 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Eke

    When you steal someone else's business model and try to implement, you might do some things the right way but might not work for you. That is what is happening in this campaign. Clintons, go figure!

    January 4, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Moderate

    If Huckabee continues onward then it would seem like the the radical Chistian right have taken over the Republican party. For me the strength of American is diversity and freedom of religion. As a country we have more in common than not. Emphais should be on these factors and not on religion.

    January 4, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Gobama, NY, NY

    Caucuses in the 'smaller' states are a good thing; because it allows at least some Americans to be familiar with the candidates up and personal.

    Only, there should be a mix and match of small and large states having primaries at the same time.

    And the groups of small-large states should rotate from election to election; so that different groups of large-small states can have a 'first out the box' in the primary elections from time to time.

    January 4, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. fhdh

    There were more than 239,000 came to caucus for democratic candidates.
    With the 100% reporting

    Obama got: 39% - 93,210
    Edward got 30% - 71,700
    Hillary got 29 % - 69,3100
    Richardson 2.2% - 5258

    These are huge numbers compare to republican side over 125000.
    Democrats and independents are fired up!

    January 4, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Moderate

    If Huckabee continues onward then it would seem the radical Chistian right have taken over the Republican party. For me the strength of American is diversity and freedom of religion. As a country we have more in common then not. Emphasis should be on these factors and not on religion.

    January 4, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. OTL, fort lauderdale, fl

    To Bob in Seattle:

    I agree that all things being equal, a larger sample would give you a somewhat better error range.

    However, all things _aren't_ equal. The Iowa population is (according to the Census Bureau) much more homogeneous than the country as a whole – much more rural, white, monolingual, non-immigrant, (evangelical) Christian, etc., as well as having an economy that is more agricultural and low(er) tech industrial. This is especially true when it is compared to the most populous states. It is certainly reasonable to assume that since the people in Iowa are not particularly representative of the country as a whole, their issues of concern, and especially their views of those issues may be different than those of the country as a whole. Given that, the large sample pulled from a small but not representative universe is quite likely _less_ apt to give you a meaningful view of what Americans as a whole feel.

    January 4, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Romney an openly BUSH Jr. supporter LOST!! Says something about Bush Jr., Bush Jr. Administration and Bush Jr. policies and his standing with American public today.

    Yes 43rd President Bush Jr. has cause for concern:
    Having cheated in two elections. First in 2000 from Al Gore who later got the Noble Peace Prize (just in case people do not keep up with the news!) through the Supreme Court then through rigging and SWIFT BOATING (it’s a verb: unfairly depicting someone) war decorated veteran John Kerry in 2004!

    With all the anti-Bush Jr. rhetoric that has helped Huckabee must be a DISASTER in the making for Bush Jr. if he is to venture to work for Republican candidates in 2008 election cycle.

    Romney an openly BUSH Jr. supporter LOST!! Says something about Bush Jr., Bush Jr. Administration and Bush Jr. policies and his standing with American public today.

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/ http://facts.hillaryhub.com/
    For a little national election snapshot: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php

    January 4, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. JOM

    I did not like the victory of Mike Huckabee but I'm glad that Obama won. The fact is that the Democrats will win this election and as long as it is not Hillary Clinton I'm happy.

    January 4, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    Hey, Richardson got more votes then Giuliani


    January 4, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. Ajay Jain, Dallas, USA

    People, polls and pundits have unfairly exaggerated the importance of the IOWA caucuses with its, first choice, non-viability and second choice and artificially early state poll results. Also the caucus was an OPEN poll but the general election will be a secret ballot where all sorts of racism will be let loose by the GOP propaganda / personality destruction machine that will have Obama for breakfast. Then all the Obama-Oprah rallies will not be able to put Obama-together-again!

    Super Tuesday is all that matters. Why do all the pollsters behave as if 2008 cycle is like any other? It is NOT! Super Duper Tuesday is different this time and organization and money will matter. Hillary has BOTH on her side and she is doing well nationally so:

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/ http://facts.hillaryhub.com/
    For a little national election snapshot: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php

    January 4, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. andy

    I wounder why hispanics are left out in this cold country of our's ! I guess we dont count due to the illegal immigration ? but most hispanics support hillary! so bash me ok i m mexican! and!!

    January 4, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. Angie S

    The more I watch the news the angrier I am getting. I am a women of average intelligence. It is really making me very angry that women are being lead around by their nose.
    Come on! Wake up! The Democratic race is not about a black and white issue. It is not about Opera standing behind an individual. It is about how men have screwed things up for too many years. Come on ladies! Just because that individual stands behind Barack Obama does not mean he is the correct candidate.
    Was that individual there for you while you were a single parent raising your child? Was that individual there for you as you seen your child go off the war? Did that individual build a school for your children?
    The Dixie Chicks were not wrong. People should have listened the them. Do the right thing! Men are born with a suit of armor on. Women can handle that armor and then some! 

    January 4, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  22. Bimmer

    It appears that Americans or at least Iowans are not ready yet for a woman president.

    It is also apparent that Americans will again elect a president based on likeability and not for demonstrated ability.

    It is also apparent that Americans, at least the liberal democrats, have a short memory of 9/11 and its perpetrators: Osama and the islamic extremists. It will be a matter of time (perhaps just before the general election) when Osama prepares a new video expressing his jubilation and at the same time declaring that Obama's conversion to christianity was anti-islamic and is punishable by death.

    It aslo appears that Americans have a tendency to go for the glossy cover of the book than its content. It is also apparent that the win by Obama last night was based on nice-sounding sound-bites like "change". Change for better is good but change for worse cannot be that good.

    January 4, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. FAIR TAX,LA.


    January 4, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX

    Anyone can see the stark contrast in the two parties. The Democratic nomination is nationally wrapped up if you just ignore the EARLY states which is pre-2007 wisdom!!! SUPER DUPER TUESDAY February 5th 2008, will decide the nominee with 24 states voting.

    The Republicans are still looking. After the 2006 midterm election, I think Hillary couldn’t choose a more perfect year to run for president. The whole country is now leaning toward Democrats. People are just so unhappy and fed up with the Republican Party which has controlled the country for almost 8 years now. Any Democrats (yes even Hillary) has better chance to win 2008 presidency than any republican.

    I don’t see all these unhappy Americans who clearly want a change in direction in 2006 would vote for another republican again over Hillary.

    In 2006, we all saw a lot of good republicans lost their seats to some never-heard-before Democrats because of this effect.

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/ http://facts.hillaryhub.com/ http://www.hillaryhub.com/
    For a little election snapshot: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php

    January 5, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  25. Anita

    I keep hearing change..change, change ...from what to what? They are all like a bunch of people going down the highway in their different vehicles. They are weaving in and out thru traffic...hurrying on down the freeway. 1.Do any of them really know what direction they are going...2. Do any have any idea what t heir final destination will be 3. Do any really know the minds of the people they are wanting to represent? 4. Do any know where they need to exit or where to enter to get to the proper ramp. Change...????Change to what...? I hear ME>>>ME>>>>ME>>> but I don't see the whole. I see that they all want to be president. I don't hear a plan of action. We need clear definite purposeful messages telling us exactly what they hope for a clear vision of where America is headed and how to help direct America to the right path. We don't need big smiles, families beside them, beautiful coffed hair, nicely dressed with superior style. Maybe some need t o get out their jeans and work clothes and go to where the average American is. Do they know the average American? They have put too many soap boxes on top of each other and can't see the people...but they had better watch out are they are going to find themselves t oppling down into the masses asking serious questions about the future of the average American and the working American. People want to know where we are headed...Do they know?

    January 5, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
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