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Edwards' Internal Poll Shows Three-Way Tie

A new internal poll for the presidential campaign of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) shows the race in Iowa a three-way dead heat with just 27 days left before that state's crucial caucuses.

The survey, which was completed by Edwards pollster Harrison Hickman on Wednesday night, shows Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) leading among likely caucus participants with 27 percent, followed by Edwards at 24 percent and Sen. Barack Obama with 22 percent. The race is even tighter when only definite caucus participants are included -- with Clinton at 26 percent, Edwards at 25 percent and Obama at 23 percent.

"When sampling error is taken into account, support for the top three candidates is so close that it is impossible to distinguish among them with the commonly accepted level of statistical confidence," writes Hickman in the polling memo.

The poll, which was included as part of an email sent by Edwards Iowa director Jennifer O'Malley Dillon to supporters in the state, is consistent with other recent results. The Post's own Iowa poll showed Obama leading with 30 percent to Clinton's 26 percent and Edwards' 22 percent. The Des Moines Register survey, conducted by highly respected pollster J. Ann Selzer, had Obama at 28 percent to 25 percent for Clinton and 23 percent for Edwards.

The conclusion to be drawn from this mass of data is that -- in the words of Dan Rather -- it is "tight as a tick" in Iowa. As we wrote this morning in the Line, the idea that Iowa is or will be a two-person fight between Clinton and Obama is simply not born out by the available data. While Edwards doesn't enjoy the level of support he did prior to the entrance of Clinton and Obama, he has maintained a solid and loyal following in the state that seems unlikely to defect from him in the final days of the race.

Remember that polling over the next 27 days will show Iowa results all over the map. We urge you -- if you haven't already -- to go back and read our discussion of the difficulty of polling the Iowa caucuses.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 7, 2007; 4:55 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Yet Another House Republican To Retire


Fix this:
Two quantities a and b are said to be in the golden ratio if a+b is to

a as a is to b, mathematically stated as: (a+b)/a = a/b = φ



It's just more accurate to get math wrong than to get politics right.






Posted by: hillhopper | December 12, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

About a year ago, just as primary season kicked off, Clinton and Obama shared the cover of Newsweek. I knew then that the mainstream media's narrative for the Democratic primary would be posed as a choice between these two. The fact that Edwards is still in contention is almost a miracle, given that the media has studiously ignored his candidacy, as it does Biden, Dodd, Richardson and Kucinich. Now if you trust the corporate owned MSM to define your choices, you deserve what you get. And what we may get is another Republican in the White House in '08. What we should have learned from razor thin election margins in the past two presidential elections is that the electorate in this country is almost evenly divided and that any advantage given to the Republicans is going to spell disaster.

Posted by: rosaliefontana | December 11, 2007 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I think that Iowans will reckon that best shot at a winner is Edwards. Great message--the system must be 'unrigged' before policies even matter. Obama is a great communicator and the real deal, but isn't toughened by brawling in the courtrooms with the sleaziest corporate hired guns. Hillary? What's the point? She IS the system, raking in hoards of money from special interests who oppose the very reforms we need. Her husband is also helping her lose in Iowa, reminding people of Clinton fatigue. He desperately wants back in the White House, but he can't avoid the ego rush of eclipsing his wife either.

Posted by: rcarroll | December 10, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Let us all hope a different candidate wins in each of the first 3 states, and let this dreadful primary process stretch out a little further to allow more people to be involved. Those us who live in states where we will have no say, are not comfortable with a relative handful of people, representing only themselves, deciding the national party's candidate. Oh, for the days of reps from local precincts going to conventions and truly representing where they came from along with others from the entire country and working it out together. And we didn't think THAT system was fair?

Posted by: jallison1 | December 10, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

As a radical progressive, I have definite preferences among the candidates, but my primary choices are ALL driven by the absolute need to send a candidate up against what we KNOW will be the usual smear tactics that Republicans employ so much better than do the Democrats...WE NEED TO SELECT A CANDIDATE WHO CAN WIN! Not one who will stand on principle...and lose gracefully.

As bright and capable as Obama and Clinton are, to me they are almost unelectable. Clinton "fatigue" balances out her obvious capability. She is seen as an equivocator and "she ain't Bill" who was always thought of as a "centrist" rather than an eqivocator.

...And she, alone among the candidates WILL mobilize the Republican base AND the haters like never before...the people who vote "against" rather than "for" a candidate! I think she will have an extremely difficult time getting the nomination in spite of the "machine"...partly BECAUSE of the "machine". Her support seems to be wide...but only an inch deep. Her support seems more the result of strongarm tactics than respect and conviction. I think that she HAS to win the Iowa caucus AND New Hampshire...lose either and that support goes away immediately. Gender bias won't be a factor...we ARE ready for a woman president, but NOT one with the name Clinton! It may not be fair...but it's the way politics happens. The inevitable juggernaut of two months ago has shown some very telling stumbles and as the race tightens, there will be more. They've been over-reacting to minutiae...and in the blood sport of presidential politcs, the first hint of uncertainty, of desperation, and that wide, shallow support evaporates like dew before a rising sun!

Obama's problems are different. As much as we hate to admit it, we are still a VERY racist society. We STILL think of people of color, ANY color but especially black, as entertainers, athletes... Steppin Fetchits. And this particular black man, inspirational exhortations aside, is seen as more inexperienced than he is inspirational! Oprah emphasizes these prejudices and making such a big thing of her endorsement and support will prove to be a major mistake. Sorry, PC people...THAT is the way it is and the Republicans WILL appeal to the lowest common denominator every time...because they know that this is the way that they stand the best chance to win!

Unfair? Absolutely...disgusting and demeaning? Certainly...but it WORKS. And after the unmitigated disaster of Bush's two terms, they WILL pull out all the stops!

Because they HAVE to!

Who does that leave? John Edwards, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson...each would largely blunt the slime machine that's coming! Baggage? Of course...Edwards is a (gasp) trial lawyer! Richardson is a Latino who sometimes has trouble articulating his very substantive message... and Biden will be constantly "Swift-Boated" as Republicans harrangue about how he "stole" words from Neil Kinnock a thoudsand years or so ago.

But these are minor problems compared to Obama's and Clinton's. I would LOVE to see a ticket with any of the three in any order. Edwards, the populist Southernor; Biden the tough, truth telling non-equivocator; and Richardson, the westerner AND the man with across the board experience.

Posted by: PETETENNEY | December 10, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Many polls are misleading. Some no not count independents, many do no consider the second choice, etc. I agree that one should be suspect of this Edwards poll as will ALL others. Will also note that there have been many articles noting Edwards has an advantage in the nunmber of supporters who have attended a caucus in the past and has a good Iowa organization.

Iowa has a tendency to be late breaking and people can draw a lot of possibilities. I think for Edwards his best case is to win Iowa by a larger margin than expected with Hilliary placing second. In NH Edwards needs to do very well with independents and either eek out a narrow win or finish a strong second to Hilliary. If he can enter SC as the non-Hilliary choice he may well pull out a victory there and ultimately win the nomination.

A second real question would be does Obama have a ceiling and has he hit it? He is going to have to offer up some detailed poloicies/proposals and that may well start to cost him votes.

Posted by: ggdavis | December 10, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

NPR reported this AM that a Newsweek poll has Obama leading Iowa - outside the margin of error. My response is to ask about the methodology - did they push people harder to name a person rather than 'none of the above'? How did they restrict the sample - all Iowans? Only likely caucus-goers? Anyone expressing interest in caucusing? Iowa residents only?

Posted by: bsimon | December 10, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Edwards has the capability of squeaking away with this thing. I think he would be Hillary's choice to win Iowa, not Obama because of he snowball effect going into SC...

Posted by: nquotes | December 10, 2007 5:16 AM | Report abuse

-Edwards: I think the former Senator may be tapped out. However, lots can change between now and January 3rd. An Iowa victory could convince some Hillary supporters to defect to Edwards. A strong second place showing in New Hampshire could make him the anti-Obama. I actually believe Obama's supporters are the most loyal. That is, they seemed the most convinced of their own support for him. Clinton & edwards supporters tend to be a bit more pragmatic about it, opting for electability. i say this not to mitigate either Edwards' or Clinton's bona fides. In sum, short of a victory in Iowa, Edwards will fade.
-Obama: This is totally trite to repeat, but if he is able to transform his campaign into a "movement," this is the only realistic scenario in which I could imagine Obama winning the nomination and the presidency. I'd certainly welcome the "movement," but he must become more a more hardened candidate for that to happen. To be fair, I have recognized that he has become quite shrewd in but a few months of campaigning. Good luck!
-Clinton: She seems to be over. This might upset the Hillary supporters, but I don't believe she's as formidable as I once did. Notwithstanding, she has plenty of money & even more connections. She is a Cicero, of sorts.
-Biden: Love him, but he's either a Secretary of State or a Vice Presidential nominee, if either.
-Richardson: Ditto.,
-Dodd: Unfortunately overlooked.
-Kuchinich: Far too principled for most fickle Americans.

We need more Christian Socialists in our ranks. I urge you all to learn more about Christian Socialism

Eugene Debs '08

Posted by: legan00 | December 9, 2007 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama's ability to raise an enormous amount of funds in small amounts from people who have never contributed to campaigns before is nothing short of astounding. It shows that he really can inspire people like no other candidate on the scene today.

Personally, I agree that Obama lacks experience. Personally, I much prefer Biden. I think Edwards is only slightly more electable than Kucinich and would be a diaster. I shudder at the thought of another Clinton campaign.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 8, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Brettb3 -- Your information is incorrect. The Newsweek poll does report data on likely caucus goers. That is the group in which Obama leads by a wide margin.

Posted by: urban4 | December 8, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Newagent -- The experience isssue has been discussed on this blog at length previously. There is wide consensus that Edwards has less experience than Obama. As for Clinton, it depends if you accept being first lady of Arkansas and then of the US as experience. Most people do not.

Posted by: urban4 | December 8, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

either edwards or clinton would make a great canidate.
barak is too inexperienced in leading, but greatly experienced in taking money.

Posted by: newagent99 | December 8, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Even if Edwards would squeak through in Iowa---I give him a 1 in 10 chance even though he has virtually lived full-time in Iowa the last two years, he has no legs after Iowa"

I agree completely. Edwards will not be able to capitalize on a narrow Iowa victory. He will finish no better than third in SC and NH. He does not have the funds to compete on mega-Tuesday either - I expect he will have withdrawn by then.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 8, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Senator Edwards' poll numbers may be in any locale, they have been achieved without any, I say ANY, attention from the mainstream media. This being noted, should he win in Iowa, it will be very difficult for the MSM to continue ignoring his candidacy. This could bring, finally, some focus on the issues......which Edwards, alone, has been talking about all along. One of the issues (largely undiscussed) is electability. Lamentably, unspoken racial and gender prejudice remain a factor in American political life and should the Democratic party ignore this reality it will do so at its own peril in '08. While I regret this circumstance on principle, I am happy to point out that it, in addition to other factors, makes Edwards the most electable candidate in addition to being the BEST candidate.

Edwards has stated that he does not want votes inspired by prejudice but Democrats must, if they wish to win in '08, consider the matter of electability from all angles.

Posted by: wcain1 | December 8, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

One thing these polls fail to take into consideration is the depth, or lack of, in a particular campaign. Obama and Edwards are consistently named by likely caucus goers as their second choice. Clinton is rarely named as anything but a first choice. What that means is when supporters of a "non viable" candidate at the caucus need to move to another candidate, it will be Obama or Edwards getting their support and not clinton. This, to me, means that Clinton's support is very shallow. She has her hard-core supporters, but nothing more.

Posted by: PrairieRobin | December 8, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

For those of you wondering about the Newsweek poll, here's what Jerome Armstrong of MyDD had to say:

"I'm only interested in the 'likely caucus goers' usually, but since this is weighted to Iowa census data, and the Iowa caucus looks nothing like that, this poll is highly useless. No wonder they put the disclaimer that 'In addition to sampling error or bias to poll results' at the bottom of this crap poll... if I were more cynical I'd think that they are just formulating the numbers to push the story they want, but let's just see it as candy for Newsweek to shop around their hype narrative."

Looks like this poll is dubious at best.

Posted by: brettb3 | December 8, 2007 3:44 AM | Report abuse

I believe the Newsweek poll more than Edward's internal polling. Edwards is simply too involved in the sub-prime mortgage scandal, both withb the consultancy for half a mil & his $18 mil investment in Fortress while they repossess homes hit by Katrina.

Edwards is a distant third in S.C. where he was born---Obama is having a mini-surge with the Oprahfication of his campaign, & Clinton will win in N.H.

Even if Edwards would squeak through in Iowa---I give him a 1 in 10 chance even though he has virtually lived full-time in Iowa the last two years, he has no legs after Iowa.

Clinton Inc has the machine & the brains; Obama has novelty & charm leaving Edwards holding the empty bag.

Posted by: djman1141 | December 8, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

If Edwards had carried 'his' state in 2004 things might have been different. Now he would be great in charge of HUD or something. The Dems have a real chance to make a new brand at home and abroad in this election.
In a big way, while on a good track, railing agaist poverty, he is old electoral news. Probably he is seen as easy pickings for the Republicans.

Posted by: empireport | December 8, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

When was the Edwards poll conducted? Polls from a week ago show a virtual tie, while the last two polls chronologically have Obama over 30% and at +6 and +7, which is starting to look like a breakout.

Posted by: Nissl | December 7, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

One more point, I believe that most of Clinton's support is a mile wide and an inch deep. If she is beaten in some of the early contests, her aura of inevitablity is shattered and the doubts about her electability and suitability come to the fore.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 7, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse


Re: Hillary versus the non-Hillary - it is a fundamentally different dynamic in a nomination contest. Dems are looking for their nominee and many are suspicious of Hillary's electability or suitability or both. These anti-Hillary Dems are supporting Obama, Edwards and the second tier candidates. As others fall by the wayside, the majority of the fallen candidates' supporters will probably support Hillary's main opponent. Given her high negatives, the anti-Clinton people are likely to coalesce behind the strongest alternative.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 7, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I have enjoyed reading this strand of comments tonight. The reasoning I use is my own and not based on statistical analysis, but it is fun to speculate.
If Edwards wins Iowa an Hillary wins NH, then its a two way race. What if the previous scenerio plays out, and Obama wins or comes in a close second in either Iowa or New Hampshire. The key contests would be South Carolina with a large number of African American voters or Nevada with the service unions probably supporting HRC. It will come down to Super Tuesday. Under this scenerio, who would have the momentum?

Posted by: rogden71 | December 7, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse


In the entry above you wrote:

"...simply not born out by the available data."

Not to be a spelling drudge, but it should be "borne out" (from the verb "to bear"). The same mistake shows up in the entry on the difficulty of polling the Iowa caucuses.

Posted by: pffinch | December 7, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't you take a poll coming out of the Edwards campaign with a grain of salt, when it shows the opposite to all other recent polls?
CC, why don't you report that the recent Newsweek poll (12/5-12/6) shows the following:
Obama 35%
Clinton 29%
Edwards 18%
Which is the more trustworthy source? More news and analysis please!

Posted by: urban4 | December 7, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I can see the Hillary v. *not* Hillary paradigm.

It didn't work in '04, when Kerry, the *not* Bush, lost.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 7, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The title of this blog is: "Edwards' Internal Poll Shows Three-Way Tie" I would add to that buyers be ware.

Posted by: pierre_godard | December 7, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

'Word of the day: Christmakwanzachanukahsolstice'

there you go Mike - that's our America -- and what I love about it.

Posted by: drindl | December 7, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse


I also agree with you about the prejudice issue - I think some people are grossly overestimating it. I believe Obama could win.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 7, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse


An Edwards victory in Iowa could throw a monkey wrench into the race. He would have to use the momentum to finish first or second in NH and SC. Unlike Iowa, he has been a definite third in NH & SC polling. I believe that two candidates will emerge from the first three contests - Hillary and the anti-Hillary. Obama is much better positioned to be the anti-Hillary than Edwards. I don't think Edwards will be able to raise the funds to really make it a race after what would probably be a razor thin victory in Iowa unless he is no worse than second to HRC in NH & SC. If Obama wins SC and finishes second to Hillary in NH, he can overcome a loss in Iowa and still become the anti-Hillary. His fundraising prowess will keep him in the race for at least a while.

Now, if Hillary finished in third place in all those contests........ that would really scramble the race.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 7, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have a thought on where from here, if here is 27 days from now, and Edwards just won Iowa?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 7, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Word of the day: Christmakwanzachanukahsolstice

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 7, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

All this to say...

Obama wins.

Obama/Biden '08.

Posted by: thecrisis | December 7, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

avraamjack --could you please go away, you lunatic?

Posted by: drindl | December 7, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't think America is a prejudiced as you might think. And if it is, I'm not sure it's concentrated solely in the GOP.

From what I've read, Edwards has a good shot at winning Iowa, as he is the popular 2nd choice of the 2nd tier guys.

I think the relevant question is, what happens after Iowa if Edwards wins? Surely it won't carry him all the way, past Hillary. And what about Obama?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | December 7, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many 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 assaulting, torturing and murdering 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 KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan 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: avraamjack | December 7, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

In a situation where there is a tie, the fact that Edwards is less risky because of race and gender will factor in heavily.

The democrats can try to ignore all they want the fact that racial and gender prejudice is strong in America, but the general election is very unforgiving.

The republicans know how to exploit prejudices like no one else. That is the secret to how they have been power the last several years.

I am afraid of a Hillary or Barak candidacy because I know those age-old prejudices will come out in the end.

Edwards would not be burdened with these problems. he is the smart choice.

Posted by: river845 | December 7, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

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