December 9th, 2007
04:25 PM ET
15 years ago

New polls show no clear leader in either party

WASHINGTON (CNN) - New Mason-Dixon polls released Sunday show the primary picture growing more, not less, uncertain with the first presidential voting less than a month away.

No Democrat in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina has a lead safely outside the margin of error.

On the Republican side, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appears to have a double-digit edge in Iowa, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney an 8-point margin in New Hampshire – but South Carolina remains up for grabs, with five candidates registering in double digits.

In the Hawkeye State – where a Newsweek poll released Friday appeared to show Huckabee with a stunning 22 point lead – the Republican contest seems to be a three-person race, with Huckabee at 32 percent, Romney at 20 percent, former Tennesse Sen. Fred Thompson at 11 percent and no other candidate registering higher than single digits.

"All Iowa polls done in late November and early December showed Huckabee and Romney in a virtual tie," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Now we we now have two polls showing Huckabee with a statistically-significant lead. The race in Iowa appears to have radically shifted in the space of a week or less."

In the Democratic race, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton appears to lead Illinois Sen. Barack Obama by a statistically insignificant 2-point margin, 25 to 27 percent, John Edwards at 21 percent, and no other candidate registering higher than single digit support.

Clinton’s campaign pollster, Mark Penn, quickly downplayed the results. “These races are always roller coasters,” he said in a post on the Clinton campaign Web site, warning “poll reader beware.”

Caucuses are extremely difficult to poll accurately, due in part to the unpredictability of Election Day attendance.

Still, New York senator’s lead in Iowa has slid dramatically or disappeared in most recent surveys. The Newsweek poll showed Obama leading by 6 points, underscoring the chaotic nature of that race.

The race has also grown much tighter in New Hampshire, where Obama seems to be picking up steam, pulling to within 3 points of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, 30 to 27 percent. Edwards garners the support of 10 percent of likely Democratic voters polled.

The Republican contest is growing more competitive as well, with four candidates now registering double-digit support: Romney’s support has slipped to 25 percent, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani registering 17 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain 16 percent and Huckabee 11 percent. Nearly one in six voters are undecided.

In South Carolina, Mike Huckabee has pulled into a narrow lead with 20 percent of the vote, followed by Giuliani at 17 percent, Romney at 15 percent, Thompson at 14 percent, McCain at 10 percent – and around a fifth of likely voters still undecided.

Clinton's lead over Obama in the Palmetto State – taken before this weekend’s Oprah-Obama primary state tour - is just 3 points in the survey, 28 to 25. John Edwards – who won the state during the last presidential primary voting – follows with 18 percent, and the rest of the field barely registering.

The MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon polls, conducted December 3-6, surveyed 400 likely primary or caucus-goers in each state, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Meanwhile, Clinton leads Obama with 34 to 26 percent in Nevada – with the rest of the pack in the single digits – in another Mason-Dixon poll released Sunday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Voters there head to the polls January 19.

Giuliani leads the GOP pack in the Silver State with 25 percent, with Romney at 20 percent and Huckabee at 17 percent.

The Nevada survey was conducted December 3-5 and surveyed 625 registered voters. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Iowa • Nevada • New Hampshire • South Carolina
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Walt, Belton, TX

    I would have thought Hillarity had bought the nomination by now..........w

    December 9, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. joe, leesville, la

    Interesting...the first poll this week that showed hillary with a lead in iowa, cnn shows it.Not ever showing newsweek with obama with a 6 point lead..and another one for him with a 7 point lead among others. Very sad. The Clinton News network is quite sad.

    December 9, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. Brian, Austin TX

    NOPE! sorry Walt, Obama is on fire!! Can't wait till Texas votes for him, since everyonelse seems to finally be catching on!


    December 9, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Anthony, Los Angeles, CA

    With such powerful numbers I think we just may see a Clinton-Obama Ticket after all!

    December 9, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  5. Wayne, Silver Spring

    This is what some call a hit-job reporting, Clinton News Network.

    The fact is Hillary is sinking and her network is trying its best ri cover up

    December 9, 2007 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. hey allons,tn

    hey the republicans are the same it would be hard to pick one of the same just a bush same.

    December 9, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Kim, Peabody MA

    That is why I'm voting for Pete Grasso...

    This country needs a true patriot with moral integrity. One who will defend the US Constitution and restore FAITH in America...

    The Faithful need to check out this great article:

    December 9, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. Carlos Jr, LA, California

    Thank god... We may still have a chance at real change. Keep it going Barack, you're the only real shot we got.

    December 9, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  9. Jose Card

    This "no clear leader in either party" comment makes Election 2008 more interesting and challenging. I hope we get to brainstorm more on the issues.

    December 10, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  10. l b j, johnson city, TX

    Your headline says it all. No leadership.

    December 10, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  11. Biden Rising

    "and no other candidate registering higher than single digit support."

    of course, state by state is a different case...Biden hit 10% in SC compared to 15% for Edwards

    December 10, 2007 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  12. Gunther Van de Blutengroth

    CNN pushes agendas for liberals and the democrat party.

    December 10, 2007 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  13. Sue, St Louis, MO

    You know, I like Obama. He's stylish, urbane, witty and intelligent. He is a privilege child – a Cinderella story as the above article defines. Oh, I would say that many would disagree with my statement – but the fact is Obama managed to avoid the necessity of being black in America. He was able to skip out on qualities such as perseverance, determination, a belief of principle, and the art of living that principle. He took as much discrimination as my neighbor who is white. He is an intellectual African American who lived in an elite world, the ivory tower or upper middle class. That is what concerns me.

    Although I regret to say, I did not walk with Dr. King in Selma. I walked in Berwyn and Cicero, the cities just outside of Chi-Town (Chicago), amongst white hostiles who reviled us and pelted us with dung and urine. I saw the hearts of bigots and racists, and I know that our nation is still populated with such ideology. I was young, and a teacher trying to teach in the inner city with history books whose final copyright was 1933. Apparently history ended with Hoover on the South Side of the city. We mimeographed pages that brought current events to our students. Earlier, I worked in the school during the race riots of 1967, and often dodged a bullet either from a white man or a black man. I walked through a city with military presence and smelt the burning of human flesh, or the shrieks of drunk men, angry men, both black and white, among the background of guns and flaming gas filled bottles. I worked with others, both black and white, to end the Jim Crow laws, and watched black men go off to war in Viet Nam.

    At that time, Obama was a pubescent adolescent in Hawaii, Kenya and Indonesia – raised predominately white – with a father who only knew acceptance for the color of his skin – not rejection. Obama doesn't recognize the hate of discrimination – he's never had to face it – thus he rationalizes and theorizes upon it. We all have felt discriminated at times in our lives, all of us whether we are black, white, red, yellow, or brown. Obama is the product of what we wanted to see – urbane, cultured, intelligent and savvy, oddly enough he benefited from the gift of our determination. Yet even today he resides in his ivory tower, and rarely ventures far from his world of acceptance.

    December 10, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  14. sick of oprahbama

    WAKE UP AMERICA! Its time we stop playing with Oprah and elect a QUALIFIED PRESIDENT!!! not just a man because he’s black and oprah says so, she may know soap and books, but why in he world would anyone jeopardize your future because a TV talk show host said so?... This weekends Oprah circus, will not help obama, its make us all realize Oprahs running the show not obama...Our great country needs a qualifed leader, maybe if oprah was legally running, but obama is….

    Glad the dog and pony show is over

    December 10, 2007 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  15. Midnite Ryder Everytown USA

    Gosh Kennedy's dad did buy him the Democratic nomination in 1960 and he turned out to be one of the all time greatest Presidents in history (And I have always believed that his brother Robert would have made an even greater Commander in Chief... )

    Those old enough to remember – know that JFK was also one of the biggest womanizers in the White House (although Lyndon, FDR and others were more discrete)

    So it always makes me curious why everyone so virulently attacks Hillary's character for chosing to stand by her husband while no one dragged Jackie's decison not to leave John through the mud... (And what about Senator Vitner and his poor wife? Guess the GOP has different standards – being 'the family values party' etc maybe more forgiving!)

    YAY There is about to be a New Dawn sweeping out the White House (UNLESS you'd rather reelect the GrandOldSleazyParty again and prefer to dwell in perpetual darkness ugh)

    December 10, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  16. Jerry, Columbia SC

    All the suppression of Ron Paul won't matter when he wins in landslides in all states. Keep up what you guys are doing it just fuels the movement. It is waking up Americans to the main stream media bias.

    Go Ron Paul

    December 10, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  17. Smart woman 4 Clinton

    Hillary's historic statement at the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 that "women's rights are human rights" still echoes worldwide. As a lawyer, advocate, First Lady, and senator, Hillary has fought for issues important to women here at home and around the world for decades. Today, despite the progress women have made, they earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn - and women of color earn even less. Hillary is leading the charge in the Senate to strengthen equal pay laws and end pay disparities between men and women. She introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the penalties associated with wage discrimination, to ensure that the federal government sets a higher standard, and to increase oversight of employers. Hillary has also worked to increase access to capital and other support for women-owned businesses.
    When it comes to each woman's ability to make the most personal of life decisions, Hillary has stood firm as an advocate for a woman's right to choose. She has expanded access to family planning services, including for low-income women. She spoke out forcefully against the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision that - for the first time in decades - failed to recognize the importance of women's health.
    Hillary has worked to empower women throughout the world, especially low-income women. She has advocated for access to microfinance programs that enable women to start their own businesses and spoken out strongly against the tragic practice of sex trafficking.
    As president, Hillary will continue her lifelong fight to ensure that all Americans are treated with respect and dignity.

    Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services.
    Hillary has seen what happens when governments try to control a woman's reproductive health decisions. Whether it was Romania under a dictatorship saying you had to have children for the good of the state or China saying you had to have only one child for the good of the state, governments have dictated the most private and important decisions that we as individuals or families can make.
    She has championed the Prevention First Act, which expands access to family planning services for low-income women, requires health insurance companies to cover contraception, and provides a dedicated funding stream for age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education.
    As First Lady, she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and helped found the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies, which established and achieved a goal of reducing teen pregnancies by one-third between 1996 and 2005.
    In partnership with Senator Patty Murray, Hillary waged a successful three-year battle to get the Food and Drug Administration to accept the overwhelming recommendation of the medical community and make Plan B (the "morning after" pill) available over the counter.
    Hillary's work to empower low-income women has changed lives. She fought for the elimination of school fees, which prevent poor children in some countries from attending school, and for investments in health care and education for women and girls. And she helped found Vital Voices, a not-for-profit organization that continues to work to support women's leadership around the globe.

    December 10, 2007 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  18. Me, Bumsville Ohio

    oprahbama, it's called "style over substance". All he talks about is how bad the current president is but never about what he'd really do because he has no actual policy plans.

    December 10, 2007 08:52 am at 8:52 am |

    1. OPRAH AND OBAMA SWITCHED PLACES. (Surly not the leader)
    2. Obama has ZERO foreign policy experience, infact no leadership experience
    3. Refusing to show up and vote in the senate on Iran, Abortion measures
    4. Seeking a trillion-dollar tax hike and raising the retirement age for Social Security!!!!
    5. Not in favor of a health care plan to cover all children rich or poor.

    December 10, 2007 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. Allen Ridge

    CNN hates Mitt Romney. It's ashame our free left-wing press finds it necessary to pick our candidates. Use to be the American people picked our candidates. CNN's intolerance of Mitt Romney is a disgrace to this great nation. Really sad indeed.

    December 10, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  21. mel, rf wi

    hillary should be ahead in is probably rigged like the debate

    December 10, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. VX, New York, NY

    "Me" at Bumsville:
    Have you been following the campaigns or are you repeating cliche rhetoric? Obama has given the clearest policy plans–do web searches, research beyond the CNN Political Ticker. Edwards has also given concrete strategy. I see it the least from Hillary, who seems to decide according to the polls.

    Sue, discrimination against blacks happens whatever your situation and background. Credit Obama for his years of community service in Chicago; I think that's further from the ivory tower than you'll see in any candidate.

    December 10, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. c. roberts NY

    I agree with the poster who said that this Oprah-Obama show has been "style
    over substance. I've great respect for
    Oprah's accomplishment's but, felt
    a but uncomfortable with her effort to
    "sell" Obama as president. On his own,
    he still, falls short on depth on nu-
    merous policies. He's been duplicitous
    in his criticism of others on policies
    that he himself has supported. It is
    great to see a "fresh face" and hear
    someone deliver a well delivered speech
    but folks, this is NOT American Idol!
    We are seeking a strong nominee who
    will be our Democractic champion to
    eventually WIN and lead our nation as
    POTUS! As, a multiracial woman, who is
    a vetern, over 50, I find that Sen.
    Clinton to be that person.

    December 10, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Lloyd DeMoss, Arcadia, Iowa

    Do the media recieve these polls, the ones they share are way different. I can't wait to see the embarrassment on January 3rd. Of course like any other attempt to create mass histeria they will just bury it.

    December 10, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. PKahn

    An admitted cocaine user, not just that he "didn't inhale" but that he help support drug trafficing and all the violence and killing that goes with it! And we don't want to hear "I'm all grown up now and I'm being a good boy". Character and judgement are paramount, and like Clinton, Obama is just as lacking.

    December 10, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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