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. Fair,Washington DC

    The sad thing about this poll is we had a strong Dem candidate that had more than 50% support in most states and now we have this divided party. The Obama supporters probably believe that if he wins the primary these same people who are peeved off at the way Obama came in to this race are gonna just jump on and support him. Some will, just because he will be the Democrat and they will support whoever the candidate is, but I think there will be some who will not cast a vote for Obama. Not saying they will vote Republican, but I can see them just staying away from the polls and in the general election that will hurt him because if theres anything we should have learned from previous elections every vote counts.

    December 11, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    In oprahbamas 1995 book he is a self proclaimed cocaine "junkie" he isn’t that old, how long ago? Is he still using? I also agree that smoking pot isn’t that bad, but cocaine is another story! Bad example for the first black candidate, guess Oprah didn’t read that either...or does she now support cocaine use? No way would we vote for cocaine using muslin to lead this great country...

    December 13, 2007 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  3. Anonymous

    "NOPE! sorry Walt, Obama is on fire!! Can't wait till Texas votes for him, since everyonelse seems to finally be catching on!Posted By Brian, Austin TX : December 9, 2007 8:05 pm"


    December 13, 2007 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  4. Anonymous


    Maybe CNN is opwned by republican owed and run FOX, thats why we stopped watching that station.. Time to turn the channel

    December 13, 2007 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  5. Obama votes in senate same as Clinton?

    IF obama is leading than IOWANS are looking mighty foolish!!!they fell for the oprah sake oil and now the country will judge!


    By Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld | bio
    Since the comparison of the Iraq positions over the years of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is one of the hottest issues of the campaign, we thought it would be useful to post a comprehensive comparison of all of their votes on everything relating to the Iraq war.

    So here it is: A massive compilation of Iraq-related bills — and the votes by Hillary and Obama on them, side by side — beginning in early 2005, when Obama first joined the Senate.

    Of the total of 69 votes we compiled — some significant, some not — it turns out that the two differed on only one. You'll see that one in bold on our chart. But let us be clear: We are not posting this to suggest that their earlier difference at the start of the war — their most important difference — should in any way be overshadowed by these similarities. For many, that difference will remain paramount — for good reason. We just wanted to add factual grist to what is but one component of the debate.

    As you can see, Clinton and Obama have voted the opposite way on only one vote on our list: The confirmation of General George Casey to be Chief of Staff for the Army, held just this past February. Hillary voted against confirmation, while Obama voted to confirm.

    Additionally, please don't hold it against us if we missed any important votes. No agenda here, readers. If we did, let us know, and we'll add it immediately. Herewith, our full chart of Iraq votes after the jump.

    January 2, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Both Clinton and Obama would lose a national election. Look to Edwards for any shot if you are a Democrat. Simply put, Hillary is a polarizing figure who has disapproval ratings that are so high, she will not be able to pick up and centrist voters. Obama can't win the South.

    January 4, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  7. Ingrid Wyss

    I am still stunned that anyone, no matter how incredibly naive, could believe Hillary's crocodile tears!

    January 11, 2008 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  8. charlotte

    If Hillary loses, which I doubt, Then I pray Al gore will throw his hat in the ring as a Green Party candidate. How appropriate that would be.

    January 12, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. vw

    I’ve been following campaign 08 for over a year and I would have to agree with some news media persons when they say how much influence they have over a candidate. From the beginning John Edwards was pushed into the shadows of Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. What would the numbers be if the media acknowledged John Edwards and his town meetings all over the country since 2006? How many Americans would have known prior to these primaries and caucuses of where he stood on issues had he been regarded by them as a more viable candidate? Shame on the media for making the decisions of who, when, where and why the American people should hear and know about any of the candidates running be it the republican or democrat party. John Edwards has my vote and I am with him until Colorado!

    January 12, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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