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. Richard,boston,ma

    Bravo obama Bravooooooooooooooo! Keep cruising on....

    December 3, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. therealist

    "women and older voters"

    Hillary is going to need more than just the easiest prey among us..

    December 3, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. Ciara, Paris France

    CNN Please do your job and post the Blog of Former CLINTON Adm offical Robert Reich support of Barack against Hillary's attacks !
    Why is HRC stooping So Low?

    I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the stridency and inaccuracy of charges in Iowa - especially coming from my old friend. While I’m as hard-boiled as they come about what’s said in campaigns, I just don’t think Dems should stoop to this. First, HRC attacked O's plan for keep Social Security solvent. Social Security doesn’t need a whole lot to keep it going – it’s in far better shape than Medicare – but everyone who’s looked at it agrees it will need bolstering (I was a trustee of the Social Security Trust Fund ten years ago, and I can vouch for this). Obama wants to do it by lifting the cap on the percent of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, which strikes me as sensible. That cap is now close to $98,000 (it’s indexed), and the result is highly regressive. (Bill Gates satisfies his yearly Social Security obligations a few minutes past midnight on January 1 every year.) The cap doesn’t have to be lifted all that much to keep Social Security solvent – maybe to $115,00. That’s a progressive solution to the problem. HRC wants to refer Social Security to a commission. That's avoiding the issue, and it's irresponsible: A commission will likely call either for raising the retirement age (that’s what Greenspan’s Social Security commission came up with in the 1980s) or increasing the payroll tax on all Americans. So when HRC charges that Obama’s plan would “raise taxes” and her plan wouldn’t, she’s simply not telling the truth.
    More on the Blog !

    December 3, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    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.

    Posted By Ryan Theriot, Chicago, IL : December 3, 2007 2:50 pm
    People continually post something to this effect on these blogs. Take a basic civics or poli sci course, folks. Stop drinking the Koolaid. It is not true, it has never been true, and it will never be true.
    The President CANNOT single-handedly take over the government of this country.
    The President CANNOT usurp the powers of Congress granted by the Constitution. That is one of the reasons this country has flourished and prospered for so long.
    BTW they way I'm not a Hillary supporter. Right now I'm a nobody supporter, but I do like Ron Paul. Shame he won't get the nod.

    December 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    Obama supporters love the NEW AP poll, the old one mentioned here is out of date .

    The NEW AP poll, not yet published shows Obama has the lead.

    December 3, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Aidyn, NY

    Go Hillary!!

    December 3, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Ahtram, Oakton, Virginia

    Don't worry. No matter what the polls say, Hillary will stage a hostage crisis at her Hawaiian campaign headquarters the night before the Iowa primary.

    Has anyone found out why this poor New Hampshire man went to Hillary's campaign headquarters, and not to, say, a homeless shelter, a bank, a church, a school, a police station, a restaurant,his State senator's office,his Congressman's office, his Governor's home, another New Hampshire representative's office–I mean, what was it about Hillary's headquarters, in particular, that grabbed this man's attention? In New Hampshire–not New York, no less?

    You might say the whole event was planned because Hillary was losing in the polls. And because Obama had just had breakfast with the Mayor of New York.

    You might say it, but I never would.

    December 3, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. Hussein Osama, new york, ny

    HAHA, Obama supporters do not like the polls now.

    As expected, the obama supporters (who accepted the last iowa poll whole-heartedly) do not like the AP poll today when it negatively portraits Obama in all categories (health care plan, handling Iraq war, etc) according to the democrat voters in Iowa, New Hhampshire and South Carolina.

    OBama has disapponted his supporters, after wasting their $80 million contributed to him.

    NObama 08.

    December 3, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. William

    If Democrats elect Obama in primary, GOP will definitely win white house. GOP will crach Obama like a masketoe. This is why Karl Rove so desperately gave advice to Obama to beat Clinton–they are so afraid of Clintons (because they are genius).

    December 3, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. David, Fairfax, VA

    Let's just elect a Clinton. Did you all forget how GREAT things were under the Clintons? I didn't hear anyone complaining, record surpluses, a booming economy, detached international news...

    Tell me one real problem we have today that we had under the Clinton Regime. Give me Bill back.

    December 3, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Matt, Austin, TX

    I'm always amazed when people suggest Obama, Clinton, and Edwards appear like great leaders during debates. They have never shined from what I've seen. They never answer any question clearly and have few real plans for anything, just vague ideas.

    The only candidate that ever answers a question directly is Joe Biden but he's not a sexy enough candidate for this country. There's not enough drama and intrigue and that's not good for ratings. He's the only candidate that actually has a plan to get us out of Iraq. He's the best candidate to combat the Republicans on foreign affairs and he has the resume to back it up. Being "first lady" shouldn't be a resume item.

    It's a shame no one listens to anyone not named Clinton or Obama (the media's chosen ones).

    December 3, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Dee Anna Roberts

    That's a New Poll out Monday LIE.

    That Poll showing Hill ahead was conducted November 7th through the 25th.

    It ain't NEW

    December 3, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Silus,Iowa

    Let's just elect a Clinton. Did you all forget how GREAT things were under the Clintons? I didn't hear anyone complaining, record surpluses, a booming economy, detached international news…

    Tell me one real problem we have today that we had under the Clinton Regime. Give me Bill back.

    Posted By David, Fairfax, VA : December 3, 2007 3:56 pm

    Hillary is not Bill and vice versa. I would think you are wrong on this one. Give me something different.
    Bush ,Clinton,Bush Clinton not good for the country. Let's try someone new. Joe Bidden,Edward or Obama can be a good pick.

    December 3, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Linda, Chandler AZ

    "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."


    December 3, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. MK, Los Angeles, California

    This poll is worthless in terms of talking about the state of the ground in Iowa TODAY. The poll was conducted (meaning the pollster called people) a month ago and ended (meaning the pollster stopped calling people) ten days ago. The poll is therefore almost two weeks out-of-date!! More recent polls (meaning conducted within the past two weeks) have all shown that Obama is ahead and Clinton in second. The age of the poll is also reflected in the results on the Republican side. This old poll shows Romney in the lead but polls done since this one have shown Huckabee in the lead. Sorry folks but this is just an old out-of-date poll. This may have been news two weeks ago, but not now.

    December 3, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. Maryland

    Hmmmmm... Polls to belive or not to belive.Maybe the BCS could tell us how reliable polls are.America votes with their own knowledge,not with some bean counter telemarketer employed by special interest groups or the honest always impartial press looking to increase circulation or ratings.The people will speak when they cast their votes.

    December 3, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. Kim, Dallas, TX

    Watch what's going to happen. Clinton will pull out every stop she can to created adversity for Obama now. She represents what I totally detest about politics. We really need someone like Obama to lead us down a new, productive pathway. Clinton, I know integrity and honesty are difficult words for you, but please play fair.

    December 3, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |


    Just say NO! to obama winphrey. 🙂

    December 3, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. Adella Jones Iowa

    Great News for Hillary and the rest of the country...IOWANS are intelligent, anyone can be dazzled by show biz names like Oprah for a few minutes, but when it comes to your Childs future, safety, education and health, HILLARY is the BEST choice for President.

    Especially after the way she has handled herself during all the bashing from the boys club, especially obama (who now looks childish) and the way she handled the news conference after the hostage situation. We saw a strong compassionate Presidential leader, ready to fight! And a very loving friend and mother! That’s the trait that our country could use allot more of, instead of hate & wars.

    Clinton will win Iowa and seal the nom.

    Worst case scenario, obama win the nom, and then our next President would be a republican... WE CAN'T ARRORD TO LET THAT HAPPEN.

    Hillary is the ONLY ONE who can beat any of the republicans...remember. Bush won a second time...America cannot afford the inexperience of someone like obama. John Edwards, or Bill Richardson would be even better than obama, all he has to offer is...well…Oprah?

    I say Lets give a woman a chance to do what a man has been trying to do since George Washington!

    December 3, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. OBAMA 2008

    This is great I love to read comment posted on here like the one's that William from Alexandria,Va has posted and Chip From Celine Oh! I agree with both of them 100%. Hillary isn't going to win unless these women get wrapped up in a first woman president, When they should take a step back listen to her view and realize and say hey she doesn't believe or she's not the right one for the job. But instead all these women are going to support her because she is the first woman. SHE DOESNT HAVE SUPPORT WHAT SHES DONE IS TRICK THESE WOMEN AND THEY NEED TOO WAKE UP FAST SOMEONE PLEASE WAKE UP THESE WOMEN!

    December 3, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  21. David , Massachusetts

    Matt, you are totally right. Joe Biden is so far ahead of the other candidates in any if the issues but he is not a "Rock Star". Joe is the answer and hopefully the news media will start paying more attention to him.

    December 3, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. Howard, Huntington, NY

    William: If Democrats elect Obama in primary, GOP will definitely win white house. GOP will crach Obama like a masketoe. This is why Karl Rove so desperately gave advice to Obama to beat Clinton–they are so afraid of Clintons (because they are genius).

    You've got to be kidding. The GOP is salivating at the chance to face Hillary in a general election. There's a basic hatred against her there that will bring out plenty of voters to vote against her.

    If you mention Obama to a Republican, they may disagree with his policies, but they don't dislike him. You mention Hillary to a Republican, and they'll go nuts. Nominating Hillary gives the GOP their best hope at winning next year.

    December 3, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  23. Jacob, Des Moines Iowa

    it was a 3 week poll conducted between Nov. 7 and Nov 25

    that can hardly be considered "new" let alone reliable

    occording to the RELIABLE, RECENT polling, iowa is in a 3 way tie with OBAMA slightly having the lead

    December 3, 2007 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  24. R. Young, Fort Wayne IN

    It seems to me that examining a candidates position on the issues is only considering half of the question. Mr. Edwards basically talks about changing Washington and the special interests, but no thought seems to be given as to how to accomplish that. We are all bothered by the influence of money, but even the best President in the wolrd can do only so much – he has to have a majority support in Congress to get anything accomplished. It seems to me that more consideration needs to be given to who can accomplish what they promise. Dennis K. has some good ideas, but we all know that he would inspire very few of the washington elite to join in and get the job done. The most likely change will come form the Washington insiders who also want to make the current system better – they will be able to work with the powers already there, and possible make progress on the overall agenda. the President can push change all he wants, but unless he can led Conagress – rather than just threatening them – little will be accomplished. Luckily, George Bush was a screamer rather than a leader – there was little of his agenda put in place permanently, because he could not work with Congress to get important thigns accomplished. Remember, it takes 60% of the Senate to really advance an agenda, and so usually, that means a bi-partisan approach is the only way. While the words of Obama and Edwards sound great, only Hillary seems to realize that you have to appeal to all sides to get things done. A position paper really does not matter much, if there is no likelihood that anything will ever be enacted. thus, the stands taken on the issues have only limited importance – what is important is who will be able to get anything actually accomplished. Bill Clinton appealed to the center of the party – not the left wing – and was thus able to accomplish balanced budgets, etc. And of course, the most important factor is to get the candidate who can win the general election by appealing to the moderates of both parties, since the best ideas in the world from the Democrats will make no difference, if we do not first win the election. the polls are volatile because everyone wants to see who looks like the winner – not just in the primaries, but in the fall election too. that was the key to the Kerry victory in the 2004 primaries. And hopefully, it will be the key in 2008. Luckily, all of the leading Democratic candidates are quite close on the issues, and we are only picking the very best from a group of great candidates. I almost – but not quite – feel sorry for the Republicans. They do not seem to be happy with anyone – gee that's just too bad. How wonderful it is to have all of our front runners – and most of the second group – be great candidates in what looks like a great year for Democrats.

    December 4, 2007 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  25. a,thomas, ny, ny

    This AP poll or survey distinguish from other daily polls in its depth and issues. While a daily poll result may change depending on the tv ads or news of the day before heard by the respondents, this AP survey go into surveying how each candidate handling each important political issue, and who will be considered electable as next president.

    The AP survey requires respondents to calm down and objectively rank each candidate on issues and electability. In the end, they rank Hillary over Obama and other candidates. In other words, deep in the mind of most democrat voters and that will likely persist at time of voting, they do think Hillary is the most experienced and best qualified to be the nominee.

    The fact that Hillary is the most electable candidate should eliminate Obama as a nominee.

    December 4, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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