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InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Poll: Clinton and Edwards in Virtual Tie in Iowa

Compiled from InsiderAdvantage and Southern Political Report staff

December 31, 2007Using the same polling methodology that successfully predicted the outcome of the 2004 Democratic Caucus in Iowa, InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research has been conducting a daily tracking poll among likely voters in the Jan. 3 Iowa Democratic Caucus, and it shows a statistical tie between Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, with Barack Obama starting to lag.  

Clinton has 30%, Edwards 29%, Obama 22%, with 14% committed to other candidates and 5% undecided.

The survey was conducted Dec. 28-29 among 788 likely Democratic voters in Iowa. The poll has been weighted for gender and age. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4%.  

Critically, Edwards was the second choice of 62% of those who supported other candidates that did not receive the required 15% of the vote. Clinton was the second choice of 21% and Obama of 17%.

Using the reallocation methodology InsiderAdvantage used in 2004 – which correctly indicated a fairly comfortable win for John Kerry – our new poll reveals that, if the caucuses were held today, the reallocated final outcome would be: 

Edwards: 41%
Clinton: 34%
Obama: 25%

“We removed from the results the percentages allocated for ‘other candidates’ and ‘undecideds,’ and then reallocated the support of those who are supporting candidates without the required 15% level of support,” said Jeff Shusterman of InsiderAdvantage’s research partner, Majority Opinion Research.  

“We then merged these totals with the percentages of support the top candidates received on the first ‘ballot.’ This is the same methodology we used in 2004,” he said.

InsiderAdvantage CEO/Creators Syndicate’s Matt Towery offered this analysis: 

“What many who look at the Iowa Democratic Caucus may miss is that its delegates are apportioned much like the old “county unit system” once used in Southern states. This gives rural areas, where Edwards is running strong, the opportunity to have a disproportionately significant impact on the ultimate outcome.

“Regardless of geographic areas of support, the Edwards ‘second choice’ percentage has remained well over 50% since we first released a second-choice survey in early December,” he said. As a follow-up to that earlier survey, InsiderAdvantage has polled the race every night since Dec. 26.  

“The overall trend lines have changed very little over the last several days,” Towery said. “Generally, every night shows Clinton with a slight lead, Obama losing steam, and Edwards hanging in close to Clinton. Moreover, the trends show that Edwards consistently is the second choice of those whose first choice candidate is below 15%.

“Probably the race will tighten. I would expect that the reallocated numbers will tighten among the top candidates as well.  

“The most that can be said now is that Clinton likely will appear to be the leader in many caucus locations on the first round, but not by a big margin. If Edwards’ second preference position holds, he may very well be the upset winner on Jan. 3.

“As for the Republicans, I’m not comfortable releasing numbers yet. I’ve seen enough GOP polls in 28 years to know when some sort of shift is taking place.  

“The Republican numbers right now are all over the place and, in my experience, that means the numbers probably won’t settle until immediately prior to the voting,” Towery said.


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