12/18/07

Timing? Peaking Perfectly? Edwards Polls 1st In Iowa!
By: Mark W Adams


Can ya gimme a WØØT!

At considerable risk of unjustified derision and rolling of eyeballs, my uncanny powers of political observation verge on the psychic -- cuz this is what I've been saying right along. The second choice matters a lot in the quirky Iowa caucus, especially where the "second tier" candidates are so strong, yet not quite viable. Edwards always was going to get the lion's share of them.

His structural advantage of having a loyal following who caucused for him last time upon which to build, while everyone else had to create an Iowa base was (IMO) underrated as well. Mind you, by that logic if Bill hadn't skipped Iowa back in the 90's, Hillary could have tapped that base and be absolutely untouchable. Bill's the reason she even has a shot, and the reason she's struggling -- again and again. Irony's a bitter pill.

The race among the three top Democrats is extremely close, with the potential for any of them to finish first – or third.

Edwards leads with 30 percent in a poll of Democratic voters who said they intend to participate in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses, followed by Clinton with 26 percent and Obama with 24 percent. When the sample was narrowed to the most likely caucus-goers, based on several questions, Obama leads Edwards by less than a percentage point with 27 percent, with Clinton in third place at 24 percent.

Edwards holds a significant advantage, however, among a group who could be key to the first contest of the presidential year: those who say their first choice is someone other than the top three. Under Iowa Democratic Party rules, candidates who poll less than 15 percent in the first vote at each caucus around the state are eliminated, and their supporters get a second chance to vote for another candidate.

Under both screens, Edwards leads as the second choice of these voters, with Clinton trailing Obama.

“If Edwards is the second choice at this stage of those who intend to vote for other Democrats, then it would not be surprising if he produced a bit of a shock in Iowa,” said InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery.

Towery said the firm employed the same methodology with regard to asking the second choice of those who were voting for candidates other than those in the top tier, and obtained an accurate picture of John Kerry’s lead.

The poll of 977 Democrats who said they will go to the caucuses, conducted Sunday and Monday has a error margin of plus-or-minus 3 percent. The tighter screen of 633 voters has an error margin of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

Hat Tip Political Wire.

By my math, there's between 22% and 30% of Iowa caucusers either undecided or backing someone who most likely won't get above the 15% viability threshold. That's a huge built-in margin of error the horse race Villagers never seem to understand.

Huck looks good on the other side, and even if he comes in a close second, the breathlessness of the Village Press about the popular "insurgency" of Huck and a "surprise upset victory" by Edwards will be more powerful than a $50 million ad buy.

Speaking of which, besides buying a blimp, just what is Ron Paul doing with all that cash he raised? I've only see one poll where Paul is doing well, and that poll's methodology is, shall we say, suspect? But so is buying a frickin' blimp.

Actually, I don't know which is more absurd, polling at 120% or the blimp thingy. You probably need 120% to win an election by and for the vote stealing Republican Party.



UPDATE: Todd Beeton points me inside the numbers.

Interestingly enough, being a political science major, I let others do the math. Make that between 22% and 20%, not 30% as I previously said.

Doh!

What's weirder when you look inside, is that as they screened out the likely caucusers from the highly likely caucusers, there were more folks who were undecided than in the broader sample.

Highly Likely VotersLikely Voters
Obama26.624.3
Edwards26.029.8
Clinton23.826.4
Other1412.1
Undecided9.57.4

I just don't see anyone actually trudging out in the cold who hasn't got a horse in the race. I know Iowans are a peculiar people who take this stuff very seriously and I guess there are a certain number who feel duty bound to show up even if they have no f-ing clue who they'll cast their lot with. I know it's statistically insignificant, but a weird trend.

But if you absolutely know you'll be going to the local meeting hall in a couple of weeks, don't you think you'd be paying a bit more attention and picked sides?

1 Comment:

arubyan said...

Obama's first in the ABC poll.