Tuesday, November 20, 2007


While the top three Democratic presidential candidates are locked in a fierce campaign battle for Iowa, one candidate is riding a new wave of support.

According to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama has surged to a 4 point lead over Hillary Clinton, and an 8 point lead over John Edwards.

In a survey of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, Obama draws support from 30 percent, compared with 26 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for former senator John Edwards. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson received 11 percent, The Washington Post reports.

RAW DATA: Click here to view poll details and charts (pdf)

And that is just one of several new polls showing the shifting contours of the political landscape.

Two other polls out Tuesday indicate a possible stronghold for GOP national frontrunner Rudy Giuliani, and another poll gives a glimpse into voters' attitudes about candidates' character.

— In a Nov. 12-14 Mason-Dixon poll of 625 regular Florida voters, a matchup between Giuliani and Democratic national frontrunner Hillary Clinton put him ahead 50-43 percent. GOP rivals Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani also were ahead of Clinton statistically, but within the poll's 4 percent margin of error.

— In a Nov. 2-12 Associated Press poll of 2,230 adults -- 1,049 Democrats, +/- 3%; 827 Republicans, +/- 3.4% -- half of Democrats said candidates' personal qualities were more important than policy positions; 42 percent said issues were more important. It was nearly opposite for Republicans: Half said issues matter most; 43 percent said personal qualities were more important.

— The AP poll also touched on candidate attractiveness (Democrats fared better than Republicans) and ... bowling. Democrats and Republicand don't agree on much, but they do here: Clinton would be the last pick on either party's bowling team.

Previous Iowa polls have shown Clinton with a single-digit lead over her opponents, with Obama and Edwards closely trailing.

Clinton, while still the clear national front-runner, leads on issues such as the Iraq war and health care and has strong support among women voters, however these factors do not appear to be translating in Iowa, where campaigning has been most intense.

While Obama has seen recent gains in the early-voting midwestern state, it remains a tight three-person race for precinct caucuses, however Obama's lead over Edwards was beyond the margin of sampling error.

The poll also asked Iowans whether they are more interested in "new direction and ideas" or "strength and experience." 55 percent said they favored new ideas and direction, compared to 33 percent who prefered experience. Among the "new direction" voters, 43 percent favor Obama and 17 percent back Clinton.

The poll showed no other Democrats receiving more than 5 percent of support.

The ABC News/Washington Post telephone poll surveyed 500 adults likely to participate in the caucuses and was conducted Nov. 14-18. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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