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Iowa's Cutting Issues

The new Washington Post-ABC News polls of likely Iowa caucus-goers (Democrats here, Republicans here) found deadlocked contests for the presidential nominations in both parties. But beneath the tight competitions, Democratic and Republican voters' priorities and ranking of top issues could hardly be more different.

Among likely Democratic caucus-goers, a preference for change prevails. More than half say it is more important for a presidential candidate to offer a new direction and new ideas than to offer strength and experience. And the Democratic electorate is focused around a core group of issues: the war in Iraq, health care and the economy. More than half say the war in Iraq rates as one of their top two issues, and 50 percent say the same of health care. One in five place the economy that high on their list.

Only one other issue reaches double-digits (education at 10 percent), suggesting that for the Democratic candidates, differentiating themselves from their rivals on those top three issues will be crucial in the remaining 38 days.

In this poll, on only one does any candidate break out from the pack as the one voters' trust most: Sen. Hillary Clinton on health care.

On the Republican side, candidates will need to display strength and experience (70 percent say it is a more important trait than offering a new direction and new ideas) and reach out on a broader spectrum of issues than the Democrats in order to break the logjam.

Eight issues reach double-digits when considering Republican voters' top and second-most important issues, led by immigration, the war in Iraq and national security, with five other domestic issues not far behind.

Likely Republican caucus-goers appear to have differentiated the candidates on the issues to a greater extent than have Democrats.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney doubles his nearest competitors on handling the economy, federal budget deficit and immigration, while Rudy Giuliani does the same on terrorism.

Mike Huckabee's jump to the top-tier has been fueled by social conservatives, and 28 percent of all likely GOP caucus-goers trust him most to handle social issues such as abortion and gay civil unions. That is twelve percentage points higher than likely GOP caucus-goers trust him most on any other issue.

But on the issue that dominated the 2004 and 2006 elections, Iraq, no candidate emerges as the standard-bearer. Three GOP candidates top the list, each trusted most by about 20 percent: Arizona Senator John McCain, Giuliani and Romney.

Q: Regardless of who you may support, who do you trust most to handle [item]?

Among likely Democratic caucus-goers:
The situation in Iraq23152615
Health care36 27206
The economy28 21 277
Immigration issues16 17 2225
Social Security 27 20 276

Among likely Republican caucus-goers:
Immigration issues99271311
The situation in Iraq 19 2019 1211
U.S. campaign against terrorism 331515 1011
The economy 15 5 36 1611
The federal budget deficit 13 535 1610
Social issues, such as abortion and gay civil unions114252816

More information about and full question wording from the Washington Post-ABC News Iowa polls can be found on the Polls page at

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  November 30, 2007; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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What these numbers say about Huckabee supporters is scary. Iowans trust Romney more than twice as much as they do Huckabee on immigration, the economy, the deficit and Iraq and they trust Rudy 3 times as much on terrorism. The only place Huckabee scores higher is on social issues, and on that they are virtually tied!!! Romney will do the same thing as Huckabee on social issues and he'll perform way better on the other major issues, and yet these people won't back Romney. So what are the other differences between the two? Romney looks more "presidential," he has a better chance of bringing change, he has way more real world experience, oh, and he's Mormon. So either Iowans on Huckabee's side are bigots or they'll believe anything Chuck Norris says. Either way, that reflects poorly on this group.

Posted by: Mike | November 30, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Why does anyone trust Hillary on healthcare when she failed miserably when we had a dem controlled congress and her husband was prez?

Who cares if you can fight if you can't ever win???

Posted by: julie | November 30, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, if Hillary was more honest with americans, in telling them that her plan is just to force them all to buy their own insurance, how many people would support it?

I don't understand the benefit of making americans buy insurance that they would already have if they could afford it.

The problem isn't that americans don't WANT insurance, the problem is being able to afford it.

Posted by: julie | November 30, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee as a former Baptist minister doesn't even believe what the Baptist church believes that the Bible is the infallable word of God. He believes it's made up stories. Look up the definition of Allegorical or Allegory as Mike Huckabee describes the Word of God.

Posted by: Joe Daniels | November 30, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll

The Only Poll That Matters.
Results Posted Every Tuesday Evening.

Posted by: votenic | November 30, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone interested in what Huckabee is really like face to face should try this funny (but it actually happened) column:

Posted by: lane filler | November 30, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though any may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where torturing people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKK or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKK and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you:

Posted by: avraam jack | November 30, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Fertile ground for Lou Dobbs in 2008.

Posted by: Bill Rhoad | December 1, 2007 1:26 AM | Report abuse


If anything is scary, it's your view that polls are an indicator of how effective candidates will be at a job.

You mistake poll numbers for actual ability of candidates to perform in the job. Just because a bunch of people happen to "trust" Romney on the economy or immigration doesn't mean that he will be an effective leader at either. Polls, if they are about anything, are merely about perceptions. (They might also merely be about the person framing and asking the questions, but that is another matter entirely.)

What is really problematic with your assessment is that when these polls shift next week or next month or after Iowa or New Hampshire, the implication could be that suddenly Romney is a better leader on social issues or that Huckabee is a better leader on economic issues. Except, no, the candidates won't have changed. Only people's perceptions will have changed, and the candidates will be the same people that they were yesterday, last week, and last year, no more or less qualified to lead the country than they were when the polls said something different.

I'm quite serious when I say that anyone who opines who will be a more effective leader based on polls scares me. Yes, this country votes in polls to select leaders, but that we always choose the most effective people for the job is laughable. A poll is no good predictor of how a person will perform in a job, and whether you lean Democrat or Republican, I'm sure we can all cite any number of national, state, and local elections to prove the point. Plenty of candidates prove themselves incompetent once they reach office, in spite of the polls suggesting otherwise when they were campaigning.

Posted by: blert | December 1, 2007 4:42 AM | Report abuse

MITT ROMNEY for PRESIDENT ............................Iowans have the right man picked out . " Evangelicals for Mitt " .A great site . O K how about New Hamp. ? They got it right too . "The Mitt Report " . ................................ Huckabee has been given a free lunch for over a month .The Fred bloodfest is over .The MSM will soon devour Huck . Run and hide the kids . .......................Mitt makes lemonaid over the fact that gays and abortionist will be airing ADS ,provings Mitt's positions . ......................Lemonaid with that HUCKBURGER ? ......................

Posted by: chuckthetruck | December 1, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the people who comment on these sites are totally nuts. Wait....

Posted by: joe commenter | December 1, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

These polls only concentrate on Iowa and NH. Unless you actually live in these two states, I could care less what these two polls say. What matters is when the votes from all 50 states come in.

Posted by: Cheryl | December 1, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Great comments above, particularly Blert who reminds us about leadershup and perceptions, plus Cheryl who reminds us that Iowa and NH are just two states, and that what counts is the 50 state Electoral College vote.

I personally think America needs a veteran. We have had some combat tested leaders in the past: Washington, Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower.

And, as a country, we need to restore our domestic manufacturing capability and stop being excessive importers/consumers until the balance of payments is corrected and the National Debt paid off. Unfortunately, we do not hear the candidates talk about these topics too often.

Posted by: ArmyVet | December 1, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mike, What the Huckabee Romney polls show is that the people that aren't for Romney have figured out that he is a liar.

Posted by: Jose | December 1, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

During the hostage crisis, Hillary immediately stopped what she was doing, cancelled an important speech at the DNC, showed her care, compassion and warmth for ALL candidates' workers, WHAT A TRUE PROFESSIONAL CLASSY FIRST LADY AND PRESIDENT IN 2008...
For all you mothers out there, Please vote for Hillary, we have let these old men ruin out great country, let a Woman show them how it can be done without a war or back yard politics like obama is playing...

If you let a celebrity like oprah, influence your decision, SHAME on you! You will be selling out your country and your children's health care and future. If you recently read the article that employees of HARPO prod, said she is power hungry! She would spent every penny to buy a black president and get her foot in the white house, I MOST DEFINITLY WOULD NOT want oprah making any decisions for this country, she wants in the white house anyway she can, we have seem that before. How do you think bush was elected a second time! We the American people! DO NOT have the time to teach obama/oprah how to be a politician, this great country in is need of someone who can hit the floor running in 2008, because the American people do not know all the damage BUSH/CHANEY has really done because they are liars and dishonest and should be IMPEACHED. ALL of the republicans stood back, took the money and let these two stooges almost destroy our great country, is why republicans will loose most likely every election this time around.
Clintons have already very successfully cleaned up a bush mess. WE HAVE SEEN THEY CAN DO IT!
Clinton is the Smart and only choice in 2008. Id like to see John Edwards as her VP or Bill Richardson. Obama is the only self proclaimed democrat running like a republican. Send this guy back to school, Oprahs school...

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 1, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I think democrats should stop loosing election by acting on emotion. Hillary might not be perfect but she is the only one who can win the elections in 2008.

Posted by: henry | December 1, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

In response to henry, the Democrats not acting on emotion is what lost the last election, remember? Howard Dean had all the emotion, energy, and fundraising in the world, and then Iowa Democrats got jittery about that "electability" question and settled for a candidate deeply lacking emotion and emotional appeal.

The day after the Iowa caucuses, I predicted to some co-workers that the Democrats would be shooting themselves in the foot a) by hurrying to end the primary process before really testing the candidates and deciding whether or not Kerry had the mettle to survive a national campaign and b) rejecting the Dean appeal in favor of the mundane Kerry.

Sure enough, however, the Democrats ran like scared rabbits for Kerry because of some perceived need to put up in February a unified front against Bush, and the relatively untested Kerry floundered in the campaign that mattered.

If you look at voting trends, there are those who almost always vote either Republican or Democrat, and then those in the middle who decide the election tend to vote on feeling. Issues end up mattering less than "liking" and "trusting" one candidate over another, making the emotional connection more important than anything.

For evidence of this, look at Guiliani. He seems to have a skeleton a day coming out of the closet and matches up very little with most Republicans on issues like gun control, abortion, and gay marriage. Still, he is popular. Why? Because Americans still have an emotional attachment to him stemming from 9/11. Many people continue to like Guiliani despite everything else about him that would otherwise make him a train wreck of a candidate in a Republican primary anywhere outside of New York. Emotions matter, and Democrats are foolish to ignore this.

Posted by: buzzardist | December 1, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason all the Republicans talk about Hillary non-stop and Fox News gives Hillary decent coverage while trying to disparage Obama--because they want to the fight to be against Hillary for a reason--its a fight they are very comfortable having. No one will stir up the GOP base or be a better fundraiser for the GOP than HRC. Don't do it folks--mistake. Vote for real change and someone who can win--vote for Obama.

Posted by: Sean | December 1, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Those of us from Massachusetts know very well that Romney is the epitome of an "empty suit." He'll say anything to get elected, and do absolutely nothing other than try to set up sweetheart deals for his cronies once in office. He looks good on TV though.

Posted by: Mass Voter | December 2, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

I think the Buzzardist hits the nail on the head perfectly. Could not agree more.

Posted by: Mass Voter | December 2, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

As for Mitt, we call him "Flipper, Flipper, faster than lighting, no one you see is as politically expedient as he..."

Posted by: mwp62 | December 3, 2007 6:22 AM | Report abuse


"The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is the American Branch of a society which originated in England and believes national boundaries should be obliterated and one-world rule established." -Carroll Quigley, member of CFR, mentor to Bill Clinton

"The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relation is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all powerful, one world government." "...the very substantial research facilities of the CFR are put to work to develop arguments, intellectual and emotional, to support the new policy..." "...and to confound and discredit, intellectually and politically, any opposition." -Admiral Chester Ward, former CFR member and Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy

Who is a CFR / NAU member?

Which Presidential Candidates are for One-World Government?

Republican Fred Thompson

Republican Rudy Giuliani

Republican Mitt Romney

Republican John McCain

Republican Jim Gilmore

Republican Newt Gingrich

Democrat Hilary Clinton

Democrat Barack Obama

Democrat John Edwards

Democrat Joe Biden

Democrat Chris Dodd

Democrat Bill Richardson

Is there any difference between Republican and Democrat when they have the same goal?

Go to (Council of Foreign Relations Website). Do a search for: Sovereignty and Globalisation. Take a look at CFR President Richard N. Haass' article "Sovereignty and Globalisation. Check the membership and involvement of all the candidates. See For Yourself!

So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations are a threat to our independence as a nation.

We MUST withdraw from any organization and trade deal that infringes upon the Freedom and Independence of the United States of America!

It's not politics as usual. Research and Vote Wisely. Every Right & Freedom Guaranteed In Our Constitution Is At Stake....

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll

The Only Poll That Matters.
Results Posted Every Tuesday Evening.

Posted by: votenic | December 4, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This could be the most difficult decision voters have made in a long time. Our country is at war and our economy is low and we need to choose someone who will do the job. Who knows if any candidate could pull us out of this hole.

Posted by: lauralion | December 13, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

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