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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.

MSNBC-McClatchy, conducted by Mason-Dixon (Democrats here and Republicans here).

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 .

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 30, 2007; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , The Pollster  
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Next: A Rare Giuliani Visit to Iowa


As Iowa turns "silent" New Hampshire voters will be in the cross hairs. According to PEW , 68% of voters in NH in November received robo calls.

These calls are inimical to democracy and voters are turned off by them.

We have started a new non-partisan, non-profit org, Citizens for Civil Discourse and launched the National Political 'do not call" Registry.

Learn more at:

Shaun Dakin

Posted by: shimane1 | January 1, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with american1 that the last 8 years have been an unmitigated disaster, I do not agree that we have more of the same in store.

On the Repub side, John McCain is an honorable man. I disagree with some of his positions (notably, Iraq and Health Insurance) -- and these are very major differences -- but I believe he is a straight-shooter with integrity.

On the Dem side, John Edwards seems to understand some essential realities of today's world.

Namely, the old, mercantilist yardsticks of measuring a nation's greatness (i.e., amount of gold in the national vault, balance of trade, etc) are no longer valid.

With the incredibly complex inter-dependence of the global economy, a trade deficit does not necessarily give an accurate picture of an economic relationship.

The real means to determine a nation's greatness today, is, how well do it's people live?

How great are we, as a nation, when we have 47,000,000 citizens who have no health insurance coverage?

Furthermore, history has shown us that the more equitably wealth is distributed throughout a society, the more stable, and prosperous, and great, that society is. The more unequal the distribution of wealth, the more unstable, and precarious is that nation.

John Edwards seeks to make America as great as it can, and should, be.

Edward's message is not "populist" as the mainstream media describes it, Edward's message is a call to make America as great as it should be.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | December 31, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

To American1, Is Huckabee a sleaze candidate? And Romney? Your name calling means that the intense dislike of parties and subsequent gridlock will continue for another four years. Edwards and Obama are not sleaze candidates unless you are a fanatical neocon who likes a divided nation. It's not only your capitalization that's faulty, but your thinking as well.

Posted by: caesarganz | December 31, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Gee, don't you think MSNBC could have spelled Barack Obama's name correctly? Does it make the poll suspect?

Posted by: egc52556 | December 30, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse


I agree with american1, as do a majority of Americans, given Bush's worst ever approval ratings. Why don't you take you rant about grammitical style elsewhere, as most of us are judicious enough to evaluate these comments on content alone.

Posted by: bastanow | December 30, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

To american1,

When I see a lot of capitol letters in a post with meaningless, unsubstantiated adjectives (Corrupt, Self-serving, etc.) I discount the readers opinion as an ignorant flame.

Posted by: reussere | December 30, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

We have survived 8 years of Sleaze, Scandal, and Corruption under Bill and Hillery followed by 8 years of Arrogance, Corruption, Criminal Incompetent and Gross Stupidly under Bush Jr.. and Chicken Hawk Chaney. The commonality among them is although they were from different parties both were terrible. Either party cared about our Constitution and the rule of Law but served their selves first, the party second and the special interests third. It is increasingly looking like this Nation cannot survive more years as the same type of Corrupt, Self serving, Worthless Politicians.

Now both parties seen to have the nearly the same type candidates seeking our vote. From the polls it seems we have learned very little in the least 16 years and seen to prefer Sleaze, Corruption and Lies over Honor, Principles and our Constitution & the Rule of law and Love of our Country or Ron Paul would win the election by a wide margin.

Posted by: american1 | December 30, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

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