Morning poll delivery: Iowa and New Hampshire all tied up

The daily installment of the Zogby tracking poll is out and it has some minor movement in Barack Obama, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney's favor:

  • Among Democrats, Obama gains two points and Clinton loses two: They are now tied at 28% for the first time. Edwards gets 26% -- putting the three in a complete tie, but that's before realignment.
  • Among Republicans, the race at the top gets closer and is now separated by only 2 points: 28% to 26% in Huckabee's favor (it was 29-25 yesterday). Behind, John McCain holds at 12% and Thompson rises at 12%.
Zogby points out that Obama is gaining among independents and, though he warns that the gains are small, how much Obama can rely on independents has become the dominant story in these finals days because of the DMR poll. In 2004, Zogby's tracking caught the Edwards rise but a few days late -- is something similar happening here?

Meanwhile, CNN/WMUR has a new poll from New Hampshire:

  • In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton leads 34% to 30% for Obama, with Edwards at 17%.
  • This is a slight improvement from the last CNN poll of two weeks ago in which Obama was up 30% to 28%.

  • In the GOP race, Romney and McCain are tied at 29%, with Giuliani at 12% and Huckabee at 10%. Don't forget that McCain led in his first poll from the state yesterday, and we have seen a few polls with the two candidates tied -- which in itself is a huge surge for McCain. The trendlines are clearly in his favor but at this point any movement will be dictated by the results of Iowa on Thursday.
One other key statistic: 63% of independents who are planning on voting in NH say they will do so in the Democratic primary. That number was 54% a month ago. McCain and Obama are the two candidates who want to benefit from independents, so if that number goes down again it would hurt Obama and benefit McCain, and vice-versa. This competition is one of the most fascinating dynamics of the campaign since it atypically cuts across party lines.

And one another news item this morning: The Politico is now reporting that the total amount of money the Huckabee campaign spent on the negative anti-Romney material over the week-end (the material which the candidate then scraped though he showed some of it to the press) was $150,000. For a campaign with scarce resources, that's a pretty large sum. Could Huckabee not have made up his mind before shooting the ads? It's not as if he was not told of the decision prior to the preparations starting.

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