12.12.2007

Early-state polls: Obama has a lead in New Hampshire

Every politico who has been following the race knows how shocking that headline is. Obama has a lead in a New Hampshire poll. But before commenting any further, let's go to the polls. First, we get contrasting polls in the Iowa Democratic race.

Then, we get two polls from New Hampshire -- including one for the GOP:

  • In Rasmussen's poll, Obama is on top 31% to 28%, with Edwards at 17%. Richardson is at 8%. In the last NH poll, Clinton still had a 7% lead -- though that was her first single-digits lead.
  • Meanwhile, a CNN poll has Clinton at 31% and Obama at 30%. In the last survey, it was 36% to 22%, a huge change in a mere few weeks.

  • Among Republicans, CNN has some numbers: Romney holds on at 32%, followed by Giuliani and MCCain at 19%. Huckabee fails to catch fire here, still at 9%.
Finally, South Carolina:

  • SUSA released a South Carolina poll last night and it has Clinton collapsing here as well: She leads 44% to 40%, with Edwards at 11%. A month ago, it was 47% to 33%.
The Iowa polls are contradictory, and we already knew the state was a complete toss-up in which most anything can happen -- though congrats for Obama for an 8% lead which I believe is the largest he's ever had in the state. But what a catastrophe in New Hampshire (and, to a lesser degree, in South Carolina, where she had as big, though less consistent, of a lead)! (courtesy of Pollster.com's New Hampshire poll listings) since a May Zogby poll in which Obama was up 24-23. Since then, Clinton spent 4 months rising to a very consistent 20+ lead... only to see it slowly evaporate over the past 6 weeks: all polls we had seen over the past 14 days had her down to single-digits, and now the race is a complete toss-up.

If the race stabilizes a bit now (and can we really expect Clinton to slide more at this point?), it basically means that the winner of Iowa will carry New Hampshire. Except, of course, if Edwards triumphs in the caucuses, because then it's anyone's guess what is going on in New Hampshire. Forget any talk of a Clinton firewall, there is no more of that. Perhaps Florida will be one, but no one will compete there -- so Clinton cannot just win in that state and be content. She will have to fight for the win in every single state, and if she starts losing in Iowa she could very well find herself in a hole before she even realizes it.

In the Republican race, New Hampshire is the one state in the nation where a Huckabee surge is not being detected. He even has leads in states where no campaigning is happening like Georgia. Clearly, the smaller proportion of evangelicals in NH is hurting him, but also means that Romney will have a great opportunity to win NH even if he loses Iowa (as is now likely). A month ago I would have said Romney could never carry NH without IA because he would crash if he did not win the caucuses. But now that no one expects him too anymore, I doubt he will collapse by that much. It's unfair given the millions he's spent, but what can his rivals do. The expectation game is everything. Check out the full analysis of this new dynamic here.

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2 Comments:

  • There's an error in your Strategic Vision numbers for Iowa. You wrote:

    Obama is at 33%, with Clinton at 12% and Edwards at 24%.

    That should be 25% for Clinton.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 December, 2007 13:13  

  • NEWS FLASH! HILLARY CORONATION HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO PUBLIC LACK OF INTEREST
    for more info ask Iowa voters!!

    By Blogger Javier, At 12 December, 2007 22:56  

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