December 3rd, 2007
11:00 AM ET
13 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. grace

    Check the dates...even though they released it today it is an older poll...(Nov 7-25)wonder why they waited to release it today?

    December 3, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Preston, Cleveland, OH

    Its so silly that some people will vote for a 'winner' over someone who they agree with on the issues. I am glad only 1 in 4 said they would.
    I don't like Hillary, but maybe people ought to research where the candidates stand on the issues instead of just voting for who they think will win anyway.
    If you do research and decide you like where Hillary stands more than the others, than vote for her. But don't vote for her just because she is 'electable', or because she is a woman.

    December 3, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Yolanda, SC

    I hope the real true democrats will come to realize that in the end they need to win the white house and will vote for the best candidate that can stand up to the republican smear machines. Senator John Reid Edwards and Senator HIillary Rodham Clinton would be better able to win againts republican swiftboating than Senator Barack HUSSEIN Obama.
    Can you Imagine what they would do to Brack Hussein Obama swift-boating with lies telling that he is a Muslim or that he has ties to Saddam Hussein beause his name is Hussein (don't forget we are still at war with saddam hussein's Iraq even though the war is unpopular people will cringe at this thought- republicans are so good at this)while there is no doubt that Senator Brack Hussein Obama is a smart, artuculate and a charismatic orator and fully able to lead this country, but unless he changes his name HUSSEIN at the end of the day in the general election he will be burried specially if he runs againts the so called 911 hero Mayor RUDY LOUISE GUILLIANI and Reverend MICHEAL DALE HUCKABEE ticket. All the evangelicals will come out to vote for them
    Hope democrats will vote for JOHN REID EDWARDS

    December 3, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. marquis

    Obama can't win the electoral college. If he gets the nomination say bye bye to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Florida

    December 3, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Surrealist, Fort Myers, Fl

    I don't know what Iowa's significance is anyway except psychological. With a total possible voter pool of less than 4 million voters–their Democratic voters impact on the Primary or National election is marginal in my view. If you look at non-agricultural America (which is the vast majority) where both parents struggling to juggle 2.5 jobs, 2.4 kids, 10-15% increases in utilities, insurance, tuition, etc...and a declining standard of living really live, I think the reality will be much different from the polls. No other candidate has the potential to restore America's prestige abroad and have a positive and lasting impact at home than Hillary. Family issues: healthcare affordibility, child and adult education,–are being totally skirted by the Republicans as "irrelevant". If we want to help build an empowered well-educated citizenry to power the economy of the future (5-10 years)we need to get started now–and the President needs to be leading the charge.

    December 3, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Frank, San Diego

    Here we go again. Another round of yammering about polls. Polls this far out yield wildly divergent results (with large margins of errors) simply because a pollster needs to make a lot of assumptions about who to question and a lot of choices about how the questions ought to be structured. Bias for or against candidates rarely has anything to do with it.

    This is especially true in Iowa, where it isn't a poll of likely voters (difficult enough to identify) but, rather a poll of likely caucus goers (try figuring out who that is in your spare time).

    Want some advice from a political scientist? Ignore polls conducted by partisans of either party, or agenda driven operations like Fox News. The major networks and wire services do thorough and technically sound work, but don't expect their results to always cohere. And don't expect any of them to actually predict the results accurately if their rolling sample has a significant portion of its distribution lying more than 72 hours before the actual voting.

    December 3, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Ryan, New Jersey

    All you need to do is look at who supports Hillary most to know why she's the last one you would want to vote for. She's supported by the elderly, who have no interest in change and almost universally support Clinton because of the decade they enjoyed under Bill. Unfortunately, Hillary is not Bill, not by a long shot. She's also supported by women, ok, no argument there, but is that support genuine or just a little bit biased by the chance at making history? Finally, Hillary is supported by the most elite, rich members of the center-left, who have no interest in change from the status quo whatsoever. A vote for Hillary is a vote for another dismal decade.

    December 3, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Chris, Middletown, CT

    What exactly is Hillarys position – I heard she said she never voted for the Iraq war....yet...she did....I heard she would not fund the war in Iraq – yet voted for funding everytime – I heard that she favors licensing illegal aliens (more politically correct to say "undocumented") – then in another breath...not sure if she really said that...maybe the Hillary supporters just pick their own position and say that she supports what you want....because someone with the opposite viewpoint could use the same argument – whats wrong with you people...??

    December 3, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Who Rules America

    Today it is said 2% of the households own 80% of the world's assets. This small elite group is also known as the ruling class. It's the ruling class who make the decisions of war and peace, who gets what, how and why. The ruling class fund both the Republican and Democrat front runners so it really doesn't matter which one gets in. While the republican and democrat working class are kept pitted against each other, the ruling class will continue to govern no matter which who is elected.
    Read Who Rules America by Prof. James Petras Global Researcher

    December 3, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Brattleboro, VT

    December 2nd,
    5:42 pm

    Hilary is only interested in one thing and one thing only; that is to draw down Obama into the gutter so that Iowa voters will get disgusted in both of them and choose Edward or anybody else but Obama. Hilary knows what awaits her if Obama were to defeat her in Iowa. Her whole strategy is to use NH as a come-back kid but for that to happen Obama has to lose or do poorly in Iowa.

    Hilary’s game plan is going to backfire because she is not a believable person that can accuse others of character flaws. She has already latched unto her perceived Obama’s vulnerability, which is experience factor; but it seems like Iowa voters would place judgment first before experience criteria. Hence, she is treading on Obama’s area of strength, and that is character and credibility, which she cannot convince anybody to the contrary. If Obama does not go tit for tat with Hilary’s accusations but respond directly to clarify misinformation, then, Hilary is going to come across to the Iowa voters as chieftain of dirty politics a la Nixon and will pay her handsomely in kind.

    — Posted by Edmonsky

    December 3, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Ivelisse

    not sure who in AP wrote this article.... but a lead of 31 to 26 is hardly "essentially tied"... that is more than the margin-of-error....

    the press is trying to create a controversy that is not there... they are trying to create a 'horse-race' that is not there.....

    Mr. Obama: please, oh please hurry up and DISAPPEAR!!!! we need breathing room for other better candidates... Mrs. Clinton: I would not mind is you disappear as well....

    December 3, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. kate, gb're killing me with your SLANTED headlines. Rove is telling Obama how to beat Clinton?? Who cares??

    And a picture of a 'victorious' Clinton when Obama is offically leading in the polls in Iowa and SC (for those that actually care about poll numbers).

    After hearing the real news elsewhere, I was curious to see how you'd spin it all. Unoriginal (yet pathetic) for you, CNN.

    December 3, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Wayne, Silver Spring

    CNN, can we please see the documentation for this POLL? I dont seem to find it online or on AP website.


    December 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Nita - SA - TX

    Hillary is logical and realistic. It really is listening to her that keeps in awe with her. The woman can talk. You can tell as dmw wrote "put thought into her ideas about what it will take to solve america's many many problems.

    December 3, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Richard Tabuteau, Atlanta, GA

    I'm impressed that CNN gave a balanced accounting of what the poll really means by adding the fact that it was conducted over a three week spread and has a very high margin of error (6%). Apparently, all the past blogger complaints about Clinton bias starting with the headlines to the analysis have worked.

    December 3, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. W08, Tampa Florida

    Ohhhhh sure, we really believe the Clinton News Network telling us SHE is still ahead !!

    Common Sense tells me, if SHE is ahead ...why would SHE be going on the attack !!

    HER internal polls must be WORSE than the polls being published ....why else is SHE running so scared !!

    CNN must be in HER pant-suit pocket more than I originally thought !!

    December 3, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Kim Lucia ,Charleston, SC

    Hillary Clinton will continue to receive negative comments from the men who are running against her because she is a woman. It has been this way from the beginning of time. However, many, including men, are listening. Many are shedding their pride to agree that a woman may actually do a better job, because the men who have represented this country in the past have surely caused this country alot of grief. She is a very educated woman, who has the country's well being at heart. She has proven to be an excellent senetor in following through with what she has laid on the table. She delivers and that is just what this country needs, honesty, integrity and lets not forget someone with an education.

    December 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Matt, Paris, Illinois

    She has REAL, WORKABLE ideas instead of just saying, as Obama does, that he'll give you whatever you want.
    You seem to have gotten the candidates confused. Obama's the one who went to Wall Street and railed about corrupt business practices, went to Detroit and told auto manufacturers they needed to get on the ball with environmentally sound automobiles. He's the one who talked about merit pay in front of teachers.
    Hillary is the one who waits for poll numbers to come out before making any sort of policy position, who waits on her opponents to release their plans and then releases tweaked versions, and the one who chose to side with George W. Bush on Iraq, rather than displaying sound judgment and voting against the authorization for force.
    Just thought I'd inform you, dmw, since you seem so uninformed.

    December 3, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. a.thomas, new york, ny

    Hillary has the following ADVANTAGES over other dem candidates, per the AP poll of Iowa (5 pts), NH (19 pts) & SC (14 pts):

    1) HEALTH CARE – People consider Hillary beating Obama in handling Health care. On health care, no rival approaches the support Clinton wins from party voters. The 41 percent in Iowa who say she would best improve the country's medical system is double the support for Obama and Edwards, and she boasts even wider leads in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    2) IRAQ WAR – Hillary has double-digit leads over Obama and Edwards in Iowa and New Hampshire when Democrats are asked which candidate would make the wisest decisions about the war.

    3) OTHER ISSUES – Hillary leads in all other issues that concern the dem voters. Obama and Edwards haven't taken title to any issues with party voters in the three states, the poll shows, though Obama is close to Clinton on immigration and job creation but the latters are of least importance to the dems voters.

    4) CRUCIAL GROUPS SUPPORT – Hillary has amassed strong support among crucial groups including female, older, less-educated and lower-income Democrats _ significant because women and older voters in particular have dominated these primaries and caucuses in the past. Clinton draws the support of nearly half of women in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

    5) DEALING WITH OPPOSITON – Hillary knows how to deal with the opposition.

    6) BLACK & WHITE SUPPORT – Even among blacks who comprise about half of Democratic primary voters in South Carolina, Obama does no better than break even with Clinton. She offsets that by leading him by three-to-one among the state's whites. There are few black voters in Iowa or New Hampshire.

    7) ELECTABILITY – Democrats in each state overwhelmingly call Clinton the Democrat with the best chance of winning the White House.

    Class dismissed.

    HILLARY 08!

    December 3, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. anon New York, NY

    I appreciate that CNN is not showing its usual pro-Clinton bias with this posting.

    December 3, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Mike Orlando, FL

    She is the best candidate and people realize this. The numbers are only going to rise in her support over the next few weeks. Hillary is the source for change and strong leadership in this country, it's time everyone realizes this!

    December 3, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Funny, most people I know who are supporting Hillary represent decent low to middle income families with kids, working elderly (not the ones using their SS checks for motor home payments). I also know some veterans who are retired military and are concerned over increased deductibles/costshare of their healthcare–and unfair COLA to maintain quality of life.

    December 3, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Vince Foster

    Too bad Hillary didn't marry O.J.

    December 3, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Portland

    I knew Obama could not be ahead in Iowa, pundits and the media keep promoting him in order to make the interesting, much to ump their ratings.

    December 3, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. PS, KC, MO

    The most telling figure is who the most popular 2nd choice seems to be. But that figure is not entirely helpful in and of itself. You really need to narrow that figure down. First, who are your most likely caucus goers, the people who show up election after election? Among those, who is supporting candidates least likely to be viable on caucus night (i.e., Dodd, Biden, Kucinich and, possibly, Richardson)? Once you have identified those people, find out who their 2nd choice is. It might be illuminating – and more helpful in predicting the outcome on caucus night.

    December 3, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5