January 1st, 2008
04:19 PM ET
13 years ago

Candidates scramble for undecideds


Clinton campaigns in Sioux City, Iowa Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Mike Roselli/CNN)

DES MOINES (CNN) - Just 48 hours before the Iowa caucuses, there are still enough undecided voters left to hand the race to any of the top candidates.

Democratic and Republican White House hopefuls are spending their days crisscrossing the state to visit rallies, house parties, restaurants - wherever voters can be found. And campaigns and independent groups working here are making aggressive outreach efforts through phone banks and canvassing.

Still, some Iowans just can’t seem to make up their minds. In the new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 17 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers said they are have not yet decided who to vote for, and 11 percent said they were leaning but not definitely decided. More than a quarter of Republican caucus goers said they were still trying to decide, and 21 percent said they were leaning.

So the candidates and their operations are focused on shoring up the commitment of those supporters already in their camp, figuring out how to sway those still trying to decide – and gathering detailed information on individuals in both groups.

Iowa voters are notorious for wanting detailed information of their own: the campaigns distribute detailed position papers at events, and the candidates often answer voters' questions. John Edwards has gone a step further - setting up a special website where voters can submit questions they were not able to ask in person, which he is pledging to get them answered before Thursday night.

One woman attending an Edwards event Monday in Storm Lake said she never had attended a caucus before but said she was likely to do so this year. "I don't like politics," she said, but added that the former North Carolina senator might be able to "change things."

Many people attending Mitt Romney house parties in Ankeny and Clive Tuesday afternoon said they were going to attend a caucus this year for the first time, but had not yet firmly committed.

"I have a desire to see how the process and does work," Julie Donilson said. She said she is going to do more research on the positions of Romney and Mike Huckabee, between whom she is trying to decide. Her husband, Ron, said "it is just absolutely important that we show up and provide input. Both parties are wide open."

All of the campaigns are trying to find the last-minute message that will earn the support of voters like Donilson, and get these new supporters to the caucuses on Thursday.

- CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Mary Snow

Filed under: Iowa
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Jeff Burke

    Vote pro-life. There is no issue more important.

    January 1, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Many of us are "undecided" – but one things for sure...we have decided that we will never vote for Hillary....ever (its because we read...thats why)

    January 1, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  3. Chris, Middletown, CT

    And CNN...."candidates scramble" – yet....just a picture of HRC....yeah...you hide your choice so well....and giving Richardson daily press coverage...omg...pandering to the Latino vote for HRC....could you be more obvious...the only people who don't "get it" are the Hillidiots who believe HRC has answered questions asked of her clearly....(which is so not true...)

    January 1, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Wade

    With Hillary Clinton it albout me me me me me me its all about me me me me me me me me...

    January 1, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. xtina chicago IL

    Does anyone know the site which is referred to in this post?–

    John Edwards has gone a step further — setting up a special website where voters can submit questions they were not able to ask in person, which he is pledging to get them answered before Thursday night.

    If so, please post it here – there doesn't seem to be anything coming up for a site where John answers questions....

    January 1, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. FV, Tampa, FL

    Don't believe the hype!
    HIllary leads ALL other Dems in National Polls by double digits.
    Which makes sense because she's BY FAR the most qualified for the job.

    January 1, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  7. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX

    People, pollsters, pundits give undue importance to the IOWA caucus. Isn’t it time to break the back of this myth of IOWA’s importance? They haven’t picked a winner since 1976.

    Bill Clinton and John Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in IOWA. Enough with the rural pandering.

    What has happened to all the Analysts at CNN. Can somebody reporter/commentator/Analyst tell the public that the 2008 primary season / cycle is DIFFERENT from yesteryears! We are talking January 3rd caucusing next to the New Year. Then New Hampshire then South Carolina THEN:

    SUPER DUPER TUESDAY. Its going to be different this time. The early states voters may as well stay warm at home. Super Tuesday will decide the nominee. That needs money and organization which the fringe candidates including Edward (the contender in Iowa & New Hampshire) do not have!

    I still am betting on the come-back-kid McCain for the Republican nominee, now that DIRTY TRICKS Dubya Bush Jr. and Karl Rove are no more!!!!

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/

    January 1, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. Chris S - Gerald, MO

    "John Edwards has gone a step further — setting up a special website where voters can submit questions they were not able to ask in person, which he is pledging to get them answered before Thursday night."

    A president willing to put forth the extra effort. Sounds like a winner to me.

    EDWARDS '08

    January 1, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  9. J. McKinney SW MO

    I have to agree with some– I don't understand how a small percentage of the people in a small state has such a big control over who America has for President. But since they apparently do, I want to say I am for Hillary. We need her intelligence, her steady hand, her experience. Go, Hillary! I am hoping and praying you are our next President.

    January 1, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Nando,Florida

    IOWA 08, The beggining of the end to BUSH LITE, and CLINTONS !!!!!!!!!!!

    January 1, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. Rob

    CNN You managed to get another picture of the Hildabeast on your web site. What a surprise!

    January 1, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    A freind of mine who is watching this race from outside the country said the candidates are medicore. I really wish there was someone that was clearly good and everyone could clearly agree on. I think that I would be a good candidate, but I could never get elected.

    January 1, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. CANADA




    January 1, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. Archie The conservative

    Please someone make all of this go away!! Dems, Republicans, etc. These have got to be the most unproductive people on the planet ! Talk about global warming what with all the hot air being expended in their lust for power . Only 10 more months and this farce can start over again. By then there shouldn't be a sane American left of those who still care that is! They are coming to take me away aha aha aha!

    January 1, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. xtina chicago IL

    does anyone know the web address for this site John Edwards set up on which he is promising to answer all questions by Thursday? Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler?

    January 1, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. Annie -the Breadbasket of America

    CHANGE = The younger generation always seems to think THEY are the only ones who ever dreamed of change, of getting rid of the "outdated" ideas of all the generations who have come before them…

    In 1960 – America was moving into the suburbs, leaving the scars of WWII & the Korean War behind them. It was a time of renewed hopes and the America dream. John Kennedy & his wife Jackie, offered the fresh new faces & optimisn of a younger generation, sweeping out the past establishment.

    Those who like to compare Senator Obama to Kennedy by pointing out that he was only a 1st term Senator, somehow fail to see that JFK had spent 6YRS in the US House of Representatives, AND 6YRS in the US Senate, after having served as a Naval Commander in the South Pacific WWII. Still at 43, he was the youngest President ever sworn into office (as well as the first & only Catholic) and hailed by many as a celebrity. In Kennedy's 1961 inaugural speech, he declared that "the torch has been passed on to a new generation of Americans". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy

    HOWEVER America was fiteen years into the cold war in June 1961, when the Soviet Premier met the NEW American President in Vienna to discuss the east-west confrontation and the Berlin situation. Kruschev carefully assessed the new President, and left the summit THINKING KENNEDY WAS WEAK AND LACKING IN EXPERIENCE. As a result Kruschev felt embolden to ignore Kennedy's demands to stop the Russian military build-up, eventually leading up to the CUBAN MISSLE CRISIS. (for more details google)

    When John Kennedy was struck down by an assassins bullet Nov. 22, 1963, the whole world mourned with his young widow & children. They remember JFK (not for his weaknesses nor his many indiscretions in the White House) but for his youth & energy and courage in the face of adversity as well as the Space Race and the early Civil Right's Movement.

    But while the Nation had always admired Jackie for standing by her husband (despite the numerous public humiliations) – the American public was outraged by the perceived audacity to strike out on her own and marry Ari Onassis. Sadly it would seem that Our Great Nation has not come much further in the past 45yrs!

    Lyndon B. Johnson stepped into the Presidency – (VP)Johnson had been a Texas Senator with a long illustrious career in Congress. Yet despite being a part of the ESTABLISHMENT his strength in the South was needed to win the Kennedy White House. LBJ continued the Space Race and enacted Civil Rights Laws, Medicare (health care for the elderly), Medicaid (health care for the poor), aid to education, and the "War on Poverty." Although he won election in 1964 , his downfall was the Vietnam War (which was actually inherited from JFK!)

    Richard M. Nixon won back the Oval Office in 1968 for the GOP, promising to end the long dreary War quickly – which he & his Secretary of State Henry Kissenger did. Nixon should be remembered for his brilliant foreign policy with the USSR and China, in addition to his disgrace from being corrupted by power (coupled with his continuous bouts of paranoia) which led to Watergate.

    His successor – Gerald Ford had slid into the VP position as Minority Leader of the House after Spiro Agnew has been forced to resign because of criminal investigations. Ford was left to withdraw the final US civilians from Vietnam – sparking the ensuing chaos and mass murders of American sympathizers who had no time to escape the collapse of South Vietnam. He will always be remembered for his Presidential Pardon of Nixon and his forthright honesty, decency, AND for being a klutz

    Thus in 1976 with Nixon's Watergate Scandal still fresh in the voters' minds, the Nation was ready for YET ANOTHER CHANGE – out with the old establishment guard – in with the new non-Washington crowd. Hence, JIMMY CARTER'S position as an outsider, distant from Washington, D.C., became his best asset. The centerpiece of his campaign platform was GOVERNMENT REORGANIZATION. He & his wife Rosyln offered firm family values and refreshingly humble untarnished appeal..

    Unfortunately for America (although maturing into a great elder statesman) CARTER'S LACK OF EXPERIENCE RESULTED IN SEVERAL MAJOR CRISES: including the take over of the American embassy and holding of hostages by militants in Iran, a failed rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan!!!

    "CARTER advocated a policy that held other countries to the highest moral standard possible, a standard by which, he believed, Americans would want themselves to be judged. His Presidency was dominated by the IRAN HOSTAGE CRISIS, during which the United States struggled to rescue diplomats and American citizens held hostage in Tehran for 444 DAYS! By 1980, Carter was so unpopular that he was challenged by Ted Kennedy for the party nomination – and although Carter received the Democratic nomination, he lost the election to GOP Ronald Reagan." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter

    ONCE AGAIN THE NATION CLAMORED FOR CHANGE, sweeping in 8yrs of Ronald (Nancy) Reagan!!

    In 1988 as the incumbent VicePresident George HW Bush defeated Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis to keep the White House GOP for another 4yrs. But the 1980s economic recession plagued most of Bush's term in office and was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election to Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas.

    THE WINDS OF CHANGE HAVE SWEPT THROUGH AMERICA SINCE ITS FOUNDING. Yet the younger generation has no memory of the same changes sought by the older generations.


    Where will the dreams of change in America take Our Great Nation in 2008?? Perhaps PAUSE FOR RECONSIDERATION…

    January 1, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Adam Smith

    Folks you better make sure you dont vote in some louzy corporate funded puppit like Hillary. Pick a populist ! Multinational mega corporations need their ever growing power dramatically reduced if this so called democracy is to survive.

    January 1, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. Evan, Roseburg OR

    First of all, did this article have any actual information in it? It seems like a rehash of things they've already told us over the past month. Is the writer's strike really hitting CNN this hard?

    Second of all, there is no reason to use a picture of Clinton for this article. She isn't even mentioned in it. I don't know if they felt sorry for her of if this was paid for, but it's definately an odd choice.

    Thirdly, is it just me or does it look like Hillary was photoshoped into that picture? I'm sure she wasn't, but her lack of a shadow makes it look very odd to me.

    January 1, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  19. Rob

    Glad you didn't give us a side view, would have covered up the name.

    January 1, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |

    Hillary is the corporate candidate. She's also too polarizing and too status quo, not to mention inconsistent (because she'll say anything). Despite all the rhetoric, none of the candidates are truly for the middle class. Edwards is just talk, a mealy trial lawyer. Obama seems our best bet. When he talks, I believe him. He's consistent, and you can tell he's more or less for real, with a solid platform.

    January 1, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. Lance in Monrovia

    Barack Obama is continually downplayed by the main stream media and attacked by special interest groups pouring money into Iowa. Why?

    Because he doesn't take corporate PAC money. He will take a sledgehammer to the broken system while Clinton would play ball with them like usual.

    The media is attempting to throw the focus to Edwards because they know he has no chance of actually getting the nomination. Anything they can do to throw the focus off Obama helps Clinton, which is repeatedly CNN and other big media outlets goal.

    Barack Obama is now clearly the front runner in the most predicitive polls. Yet they marginalize him. You really have to ask why and ask who it is that they really are scared of.

    They're scared to death of Barack Obama, which is good for the American people, because he can actually win, and he can actually change politics as usual

    January 1, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. Kevin

    "Bill Clinton and John Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in IOWA. Enough with the rural pandering."

    Hey Ajay, John Kerry did win the Iowa Caucuses and Bill Clinton didn't even try in Iowa because Iowa senator Tom Harkin was running and he knew he had no chance of winning. The fact that you are supporting Hillary is enough evidence that you don't know what you are talking about but you confirmed it with your comments.

    January 1, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  23. TS

    I am saddened to see such negative attacks & hatered in many of the postingss reflecting the state of the electorate. No wonder our country got what it deserved when we elected Bush. There are these Media polluters of hate that many of the bloggers turn into fact and express their hatred based on poor knowledge. Most of these candidates are well qualified and are dedicating their life for public cause though they may be driven by a sense of ego and there is nothing wrong with that in my view. The key is who is going to be competent and have a record of accomplishments. On that score a few would be better than others. Folks – stop haterd comments on anyone and do your own research in picking our next President. If you dont do your own homework we end up with another Bush like President.

    January 2, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  24. connie floyd, crockett,texas

    chris in middleton, you need to get a life and quit bad mouthing the other candidates. your either a Obama supporter or a repuklican. Grow up and quit acting like rove. blog on your own candidates space. HILLARY 08

    January 2, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  25. Brandon, West Palm Beach, FL

    Iowa needs a President with enough experience to facilitate change. Gov. Bill Richardson is the only candidate with the experience our nation needs to heal after the disasterous 8 years.


    January 2, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
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