Early-state polls: IA and NH tied for the GOP as Huckabee dips, McCain on fire; Clinton rises in NH

It was clear for the past week that Huckabee had peaked too soon for his own good. With the whole field- not just Mitt Romney - pounding him and with the media coming out with negative story after negative story, Huckabee was bound to drop -- and he is. A Rasmussen poll earlier this week showed Huckabee losing his lead in South Carolina, now tied at 33% with Romney. And now take a look at the new Iowa poll released by Rasmussen:

  • Huckabee is at 27% and Romney at 26%. McCain has jumped up to a stunning 14% in a state he has barely been to. The rest of the field is muddied, with Giuliani at 8%, Thompson at 8% and Paul at 6%.
  • A week ago, Rasmussen had Huckabee up 39% to 23% -- so this is a big drop for Huckabee, and it's explained by his numbers among evangelicals: He went from 62% to 49%.
  • And the big number: His favorability number among GOPers in Iowa dropped from 81% to 67%. The mailers are having an effect.
The evolution of the race is veyr much the same in yesterday night's WaPo poll that also has shows a toss-up. Consider this now: Iowa has become a wild horse-race. If Romney pulls it off, he would get a huge amount of momentum and attention, something he would not have gotten with a victory as of a month ago when his victory was assured. Now, Romney wins Iowa and he might very well be unstoppable in later states. And he does so having avoided his opopnents from attacking him too much or sending mailers against him, since they're all focused on his opponents.

And in this wild Iowa context, new polls show New Hampshire becoming more competitive as McCain is literally on fire and is now competing with Romney, having left Giuliani far behind in two new polls!

  • CNN/WMUR has a survey today showing Romney still far ahead, and ahead of McCain 34% to 22%, with Giuliani slipping to 16% and Huckabee to 10%. McCain and Giuliani were tied last week.

  • In a new Rasmussen poll, however, the numbers are stunning: Romney has 31%, McCain has 27%, Giuliani has 13%, and Huckabee 11%.
If Romney pulls off Iowa, I can't imagine him not getting the necessary bounce to be 100% sure of winning New Hampshire. But if Huck wins the caucuses, well then all cards are shuffled and New Hampshire becomes a huge race between McCain and Romney -- with Giuliani seemingly out of the picture now that he scaled back his advertisement and moved out to Florida.

We also got two corresponding polls from Democrats -- and they are as important as they show Clinton regaining her footing. A week ago, she had lost her lead everywhere -- CNN showed it at a tie, and Rasmussen had Obama up. The movement now is not dramatic but it points out to some fundamentals shifting back towards Obama:

  • In the CNN poll, Clinton moved up to 38% and Obama is at 26%, ahead of Edwards at 14%. A week ago, it was 31-30.
  • Her lead is smaller in Rasmussen, 31% to 28% with Edwards at 18%, but the trendline is the same.
The story out of this: Clinton has a way to clinch the nomination without Iowa; it looks increasingly unlikely that Obama could pull it off. And Ben Smith from the Politico has a telling explanation of the dynamics of New Hampshire: "I hate to say it...but what do you think people in New Hampshire learned about Obama last week?" Indeed. A sad, but plausible explanation.

Rasmussen is claiming it has released an Iowa poll for Dems today, but it does not look available on their website -- I'm not sure what's going on there, and will add the poll when it becomes available.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home