Iowa: Nearly 80,000 polled
By Jon Cohen
When Iowans return home Thursday evening after the caucuses, they'll be greeted by an uncommon quiet: no pollsters or campaigns will be calling.
Iowa has been front and center in the political debate for the better part of the year, and during that time, Iowan's phones have been ringing off the hook.
A spate of new polls pushes the total number of Iowa "likely voters" to participate in surveys this year to nearly 80,000. As a ratio of voters polled to expected turnout, this must be something of a record. (In 2004 about 120,000 people participated in the Democratic caucuses, and in 2000 about 90,000 in the GOP contest.)
And it's not just the public pollsters calling. Campaigns have been known to set up a phone bank or two to gauge opinion, solicit support and cajole voters to actually show up and spend hours caucusing in the middle of winter.
A month-and-a-half ago, already deep into the "silly season" but well before the final stretch, eight in 10 likely Democratic caucus goers and nearly six in 10 on the GOP side said they'd been called on the telephone by at least one of the campaigns. And Pew reported the pervasive use of robo-calls (though most Iowans who get such automated calls about the campaign said they usually hang up).
With so many polls and so little time, ABC's director of polling Gary Langer and I have a brief "readers' guide" in today's Outlook section.
Here are two new Iowa polls that are particularly helpful for what they offer beyond the headline-grabbing horse race numbers, including the important issues and the strength of support each candidate carries into the final five days of campaigning.
On the GOP side, Huckabee's supporters were the most likely to say they'll "stick" with their choice, while Romney's favorability rating is higher than Huckabee's (58 to 47 percent), perhaps suggesting he draws from a broader pool of voters in an election where the outcome may come down to a small number of votes. (Fifty percent viewed Thompson favorably.)
One horse-race finding that jumps out from the poll is that support for Huckabee is at 23 percent, down nine percentage points from their poll a month ago, while Romney is up seven points over the same period. Watch closely this week for signs of momentum, which is best measured by comparing same polls over time.
Another useful poll from the long-ago of Friday: Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg .
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