Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Edwards Within Striking Distance: Mike Miller

Things are heating up in Iowa! Guest post from Mike Miller:
Go, John, go!!! In the past two weeks, two highly respected polls (Zogby last week and now CBS/NY Times) have reported that Clinton's support is declining in Iowa and Edwards is steadily improving his numbers. According to the highly respected CBS/New York Times Iowa poll released yesterday, Clinton's lead in Iowa has all but evaporated in the past couple of weeks and John Edwards is in striking distance of the lead!

In fact, he may already be in the lead - Clinton's lead over Edwards is now well-within the statistical margin of error!

Here are the numbers:
Clinton 25%
Edwards 23%
Obama 22%

And a whopping 33% of her supporters reported that they "liked her with reservations."

Edwards's "favorables" with his supporters were also stronger than Clinton's were with hers. 71% of Edwards supporters reported that they "strongly favor" him. Only 66% of Clinton supporters reported that they "strongly favor" her.

Experience clearly divides the candidates: 8 in 10 say Clinton is "prepared for being president," 68% said Edwards is prepared for the job, but just over half think that Obama has not. However, Clinton is viewed by many likely caucus-goers as pandering and dishonest: 47% think Clinton says what she believes, but 48% think she only says what she thinks people want to hear. The CBS/NY Times poll notes that "Of the top three candidates, only Edwards is viewed as both being prepared for the job of President and as someone who says what he believes."

Overall, Edwards tops all candidates with the highest "favorable rating," with 73% of likely caucus-goers reporting that they view Edwards favorably. Also, the Clinton complaint that she's being unfairly attacked has gotten little traction, as 25% say she is not being attacked and 34% say that she is being attacked fairly.

I have previously reported on the importance of "second-choice" votes on caucus night. You will recall that candidates need at least 15% in a local caucus to be eligible for delegates. Supporters of candidates who do not receive 15% will then have the opportunity to support one of the remaining candidates. According to this poll, only Edwards, Clinton and Obama meet the 15% threshold. As I have oft stated, the "second choice" votes are critical to victory. Edwards is the winner there. Among likely caucus-goers who identify themselves as either Richardson, Bidden, Dodd, Kucinich or Gravel supporters, 30% chose Edwards as their second choice, 27% chose Obama as their second choice, and only 14% chose Clinton as their second choice.

Stay tuned. And don't miss the CNN debate tomorrow night - it's getting hot in Iowa.

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