Iowa Poll: Hillary Pulling Ahead of Pack


I thought that Hillary Clinton and Obama were basically tied in Iowa — with Obama with a bit of an edge. Then I saw a poll suggesting Edwards was surging and might take the prize.
A new poll, however, shows Hillary Clinton with a “stunning double-digit lead over her nearest rival among likely Democratic caucus-goers.” This in a report from CNN.
Obama and Edwards are, according to the poll, vying with each other for second place — and Joe Biden is next with 11%. That’s a respectable showing by the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman. If Biden places third in the race, beating either Obama or Edwards, he’ll be part of a surprise package in Iowa.
The Republican race seems to be tightening, however, with Huckabee and Romney basically tied. McCain is next — and then Ron Paul with a respectable 10%.
What is interesting is that the drop in Obama’s support seems to corrolate time-wise with the discussion of “identity” vs. “experience” among the candidates — particularly with regard to Hillary Clinton and Obama.
I find it bizarre that the interesting policy proposals Obama has been floating and which this blog has saluted (particularly on US-Cuba relations), his logic about how to approach transnational problems, and his reasonable degree of experience were something his team was williing to abandon, or alternatively, de-emphasize. But it appears pretty clear that the campaign has been pushing the notion that somehow Obama is innately just the best candidate.
This was disappointing for me — and apparently many others, but he can bounce back if he stops asking Americans to trust his “gut” — something Americans got wrong in the case of George W. Bush.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


20 comments on “Iowa Poll: Hillary Pulling Ahead of Pack

  1. Confused says:

    The Washington Establishment is nervous.
    It is rather peculiar that in a discussion forum in which gay identity was recently celebrated in eloquent but oblique terms, there is dismissive commentary on the role of identity in informing political perception through the development of sound insight into the workings of institutions and human behavior. (Incidentally, this should not come as a surprise in an era that derides the value of art and worships pseudo-empiricism.)
    While some members of the Washington Establishment have been posturing for years to earn privileges at the Harvard Club and similar establishments, other Ivy League Americans have been developing solid and invaluable experience catering to the needs of the nation’s poorest, those without health insurance, often but not always identifiable by, yes, race or linguistic affiliation – citizens one seldom sees participating in the fateful discussions held in their capital. For obvious reasons, these members of the Washington Establishment naturally see little value in such experience just as they see perceive little value in pluralistic discussion in matters of import, whether here at home or abroad.
    There is little in the campaign rhetoric of Senator Obama that dismisses experience. Instead, the clear and correct argument has been advanced that experience alone is far from sufficient in these difficult times. Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Rudy Giulani and Larry Craig have all made the mistake of suggesting publicly that experience alone is a dispositive criterion in the selection of the president of the United States. We need only look at the public record of each of these public leaders to find evidence that their abundance of experience in no way shielded them from notable deficiencies in championing the interests of women, gays, racial minorities or the great causes in international affairs. (Consult their public statements of exactly 4 years ago – December 2003 – concerning Iraq for that evidence). The Establishment is not yet ready for a post-apartheid, post-closet presidency in an era that hungers for fluency in the language of pluralism. It will adapt. It always does.
    The Bush-instinct argument also fails. George W. Bush proudly and idiotically ruled by the “gut”. When he came to office and probably today, George W. Bush (and Colin Powell) couldn’t tell the difference between a Shi’a and a Sunni Muslim if he were slapped in the face with a black turban. The candidate being attacked here for reliance on cultivated insight and informed intuition has studied international relations in a place of known quality, spent invaluable time in Africa (a continent long viewed as unfashionable to the Washington Establishment which prefers London, Paris and Vienna – there is an admitted shortage of 5 star hotels in Africa), surrounded himself with competent foreign policy professionals rather than a brigade of Top 50 corporate lawyers who little or nothing about the science and art of relations among the nations and holds a record on foreign affairs which has displayed undeniable prescience and wisdom.
    So, yes, for those paying attention, identity DOES inform insight and does not necessarily but CAN helpfully complement judgment and experience.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    New York Times Retracts Smear Against Ron Paul
    Wednesday, December 26th, 2007
    The New York Times has just issued a retraction to their piece a few days ago attemting to link Ron Paul to white supremacists. They admit that the piece “should not have been published.”


  3. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ve had to look at George Bush’s mug with my morning coffee for about seven years now. The possibility that after he is gone I will then have to spend the next four, or even eight years looking at Hillary Clinton’s face over breakfast is such a gloomy and dispiriting prospect that words can barely express it.
    I imagine Soviet citizens used to feel much the same way as they blankly contemplated the visages of the nomenklatura in their morning Pravda, knowing that their destinies, and their country’s destiny, were held in the grip of forces outside their control.


  4. Chris Brown says:

    Yet more commentary relative to the ARG poll has be posted at, for those interested.


  5. liz says:

    The mainstream media is selling Clinton Clinton Clinton. Kinda like the article I just read that now radio stations are going to Romney. These rich lunatics have taken over the entire country.
    And to top that, none of them care about We the little people.
    I think it’s an interesting concept to stop and think about who is being polled. Personally, I don’t have a ” land line” and I never get polled. Most of my friends don’t have land lines anymore or never answer them anyway, so who is being polled? Is the media polling the newsroom or what?
    My bet is someone has a huge job changing all the votes To Hillary and To whoever the Republicans finally pick out.
    And why can’t a poll utter the name Ron Paul? When they leave him out of Republican polls, who believes the numbers anyway. In my city, it’s 10 to 1 yard signs for Paul.


  6. Kantor says:

    And FWIW, I as a true-blue Democrat for the past 30 years (which means I’m in one of those demographics that *do* get polled), would never vote for Hillary Clinton, even if she were the nominee. I used to support her, I was even able to be cool with (if still not approving of) the way she’s helped to push the Iraq War– I more or less gave her a pass on it.
    But what turned me away from Hillary conclusively, is the way that she is so loudly supporting outsourcing of American jobs to India and increasing that awful H1-B visa program. I’m in a family of engineers and computer experts (in the younger generation), and many among my own kids, nieces and nephews have careers in this field. They’ve invested years and hundreds of thousands of $$ in training for a job in computers and/or engineering. The H1-B and outsourcing both severely drive down wages for American workers who’ve invested so much in training, while making even available jobs much scarcer for us– they go to India instead.
    Why in the world would I ever support Hillary, when she supports a policy that is so directly damaging and dangerously to the basic financial well-being and livelihood of my family? Not to mention millions more Americans in the knowledge industries? I’ve never been the protectionist type, but outsourcing and H1-B are just stupid policies, they do nothing except line the pockets of the most corrupt and unpatriotic executives of multinational companies, at the direct expense of US-trained tech workers. It wastes years of education, and it makes upward mobility almost impossible– how can one gain the skills to succeed as an engineer or computer programmer at high levels of planning and beginning a new business, when the H1-B makes it almost impossible to get a decent job doing the basic gruntwork in this field? And how can Hillary be so stupid as to support something like this?
    I’ve been able to forgive Hillary’s slip-ups in just about every other issue, including Iraq, but not on this one. Because of Hillary’s support for outsourcing and the H1-B alone, I won’t vote for her, that policy’s too dangerous for our own workers. And if the Dems nominate her, not only will I not vote for her– I might even consider voting for her Republican opponent like Huckabee, if they’re more cautious in their stances on the H1-B and outsourcing. Hillary has lost my vote and that of just about everyone else in my very Democratic household.


  7. Kantor says:

    ‘Polls have basically become unreliable. The fact you could cite three different polls with very different results is quite revealing.’
    Exactly. These polls are increasingly useless in general b/c among other things, they can’t even reach cell phone users, who based on fragments from other surveys (the young, technologically mobile) tend to break for Obama disproportionately, which would not be getting notice in these surveys. Especially in Iowa, it’s all about turnout and firing the base.


  8. Tony Foresta says:

    Word POA. Poll are one element of the disinformation and propaganda covens of the fascists in the Bush government utilized to push the dim sheep into a state of constant confusion. Ignore them. Americans should focus on the dire issues at hand, the candidates policies (stated and practiced), and make informed decisions based on studious research into those issues and policies, and reject all the nonesensical and irrelevent jibberish not relating to restoring democracy to America.
    Regarding impeachment of Bush and Cheney and all the fascists in the Bush government, – the democratic leadership and the American people are proven yet again impotent and cowardly, or complicit. The Constitution has been dismantled and reengineered by the fascists in the Bush government, the people are lied to repeatedly and insistently by officials in the Bush government, (particularly Bush and Cheney), and all the rights, freedoms, protections, privileges American formally held dear and stupidly took for granted have been undermined, diminished or erased completely by the fascists in the Bush government who operate with impunity above, beyond, outside, and in total disdain of the laws of the land and the rule of law.
    Impeachment is much to kind a response to crimes perpetrated, propogated, and condoned by the socalled leaders of this government, and particularly Bush and Cheney individually. Allowing these fiends to slink away to lucrative book deals, speaking tours, and fellowships with fascist think tanks will permantly tarnish the very concept of justice, and permantly erode the foundations of our democracy. Crimes and criminals cannot and should not go unpunished.
    We let the beasts destroy our nation, and our children will suffer the consequences of our stupidity and cowardice.
    “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” Jean Meslier
    “Deliver us from evil!”


  9. vwcat says:

    Pissedoff: The basic reason is Cheney. In order to impeach Bush, you put Cheney in charge. This is a problem for congress as they do need to prove charges.
    And evidence.
    Besides, it is not up to Obama in regards to impeachment. I suspect most Senators have their hands tied by our spineless leadership and therefore, why go there. What is the point if nothing is going to be done anyway.
    Obama is not about spouting, shouting. He is more into using force or taking stands picking and chosing his fights. Beating your chest for the sake of bragging is not his style and is a waste of breath. You lose effectiveness.
    As for the polls: It’s pretty much agreed all around this is an outlier. Taking a poll on a holiday weekend, most of who will be home will be senior citizens and they trend to Hillary and not Obama.
    He has the support of under 50 with a minority of seniors. Hillary is in their age group and so is more appealing to them.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, I see Rasmussen mentioned about. Despite Ron Paul’s record setting fundraising, and, (as Steve points out above), his respectable showing in many polls, Rasmussen still omits him from their polls.
    Anyone that seriously thinks these major polling entities are not part of the charade is a damned fool. This is a carefully choreographed dance of deception, and we damned sure better wake up soon and put a stop to it, or leaders like Bush will be the best we can hope for, and exactly what we deserve.


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Again, I feel it is totally irresponsible to discuss Obama without raising the issue of his comments about executive abuse, and where he thinks the bar should be set. He has stated that he thinks “you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president’s authority” as an excuse for him not supporting the impeachment of George Walker Bush.
    I can think of no president, including Richard Nixon, that has so openly, blatantly, and indisputably committed “grave and intentional breeches of the President’s authority” as George Bush has. If in fact George Bush has not met the bar for impeachment, than we are no longer living in a democracy, and our leaders are no longer bound by the rule of law.
    Obama’s statement about impeachment should disqualify him for ANY OFFICE, much less the Presidency of the United States.
    I realize that Steve’s balliwick is foreign policy, but I feel at times he is willing to completely discount, and even attempt to stifle and ignore debate about the failings and shortcomings of his foreign policy darlings. His complete silence about Hagel’s past in regards to ES&S come to mind, as does his total lack of response when Obama’s impeachment comments are brought into the debate.
    But as much as Steve would like to ignore Obama’s impeachment comments, any rational or discerning voter would be well advised to research a candidate’s position in regards to holding our President accountable, because it is a direct window into the standard that particular candidate may set for his or herself should they attain office.
    Obama will NEVER get my vote, because of the one lone sentence he uttered about impeachment, and I will work voraciously to make sure his comment about impeachment is part of ANY discussion I have with acquaintances about the various candidates. If our President is not held to the letter of the law then what foreign policies we pursue are irrelevent. Who really thinks the people will have a say in foreign policy when we have a fascist in office, and live in a police state?
    As much as I respect and even like Steve Clemons, it saddens me that he is such a cheerleader for these mass marketed posturing frauds we are having foisted off on us as props in this charade. This nation is at a turning point, and we are in danger of completely losing our tenuous grasp on representation in Washington. Should one of these mainstream mass marketed human “products” such as Hillary, Obama, Thompson, or Guilianni succeed in being placed in the Oval Office, I feel it will be the last nail in the people’s coffin. I only hope Steve wakes up before he helps swing the final blow of the hammer.


  12. Maxwell says:

    The link Chris Brown posts above is a MUST READ.
    Mark Blumenthal shows how holiday travelers correlate with younger age brackets, higher income groups, and better educated demographics: ALL OF OBAMA’s STRONGEST support groups.
    He also points out that in Rasmussen’s tracking poll over the Thanksgiving vacation, Obama saw a 9-pt drop (from 26 to 17) during the vacation, only to regain his standing after the fact. The peaks and valleys in the graph are stunning.
    Caveats at the end of the piece, but there’s plenty of evidence there to elucidate what’s happening in the ARG poll.


  13. Maxwell says:

    Given how infrequently this blog discusses polls at all, it’s frankly odd that Steve would choose the least reputable pollster and the most improbable poll of the bunch upon which to base this mental random walk.
    ARG, the New Hampshire polling firm notorious for being 20 pts off in their prediction that Bush would beat McCain in the 2000 primary in NH (McCain won by 18 points), uses RDD methodology and excludes all cell phones because, get this, “young people don’t vote anyway.” This is the first year they’ve ever polled the Iowa caucuses.
    Rasmussen, the most accurate polling firm for the last three election cycles, suspended all polling on Dec 21, because they rightfully judged accurate sampling to be impossible on a busy holiday weekend when all university students have gone back to their homes, and 40% of the nation is in transit. Basically, available landlines reachable by RDD skew to the old, and the very old especially.
    The 65 and older crowd skews heavily to Clinton, and the 40 and younger crowd skews heavily to Obama. This poll is self-explanatory.
    It is sampled during the holiday weekend, when every other reputable polling firm suspended operations, it excludes cellphones, there are no internals, and it is issued from a polling firm with a track record for being one of the worst judged by recent primary predictions.
    I hope the Clinton team flogs this poll for days. It’ll make for a better story for the Edwards and Obama teams when “Clinton double-digit lead evaporates overnight”.


  14. Chris Brown says:

    Mark Blumenthal, of, suggests that the results of the poll may have been skewed by the fact it was taken during the holidays. He provides some interesting historical information of the demographics of holiday travelers. It’s worth a read.
    By the way, for those who haven’t visited the, it conglomerates results of all polls and publishes trend charts.


  15. Matthew says:

    Polls have basically become unreliable. The fact you could cite three different polls with very different results is quite revealing.


  16. JohnH says:

    I would expect the corporate media to hype good news for Clinton, their darling, trying to create a bandwagon effect.
    However, polls mean little in Iowa. People have enough information to think for themselves and not have polls identify winners for them.
    Generating turnout means everything. So the question becomes, who has the best machine and has motivated potential voters the most?


  17. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t know what’s happening in Iowa, but in New Hampshire, there has been a huge media blitz for Clinton during the past week or two. Non-stop commercials and mailings. I can’t get away from her.


  18. twobagger says:

    if obama’s support is indeed dropping among white males then he really is dependent on students and young adults to show up on Jan. 3. And as history clearly shows, depending on those groups is highly risky.
    on the flip side, obama REFUSES to take the pledge stating that his campaign won’t pack the caucus with illegal out of state voters (most likely to be young students and adults).
    where is the coverage on that story?


  19. DC says:

    The ARG poll is in the minority, and is being pushed by the Clinton campaign to whomever will trumpet it. Not to say that information isn’t representative; but it’s an outlier when considering the other results.


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