Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Obama and Huckabee lead in large DesMoines Register Poll

The key newspaper in the upcoming Iowa race is the DesMoines Register. On CSPAN today Pollster J. Anne Selzer is discussing their latest poll, the last major one before the caucuses:


Frustratingly in terms of predicting outcomes, their result is dramatically different from Zogby for the Democrats. Register shows Obama leading in a big way, Zogby shows Clinton with the lead. RealClearPolitics averaging process shows a very narrow Clinton lead.

On the Republican side they agree with Zogby and show a Huckabee lead. RealClearPolitics averages now show Huckabee with a sliver of a lead: 0.4% over Romney.

The Clinton and Edwards campaigns suggested the Register's methodology was flawed, especially in terms of projected caucus participation. Selzer thinks a lot of independents will be involved - many more than historically. She also notes that they were able to contact some potential voters by cell phone, most notable college students who will be back in time for caucus but are not in Iowa now - which she said was a flaw in some other polls.

So, how does this affect our Predictions? No change. Romney and Clinton will win Iowa.


As Mark noted below Huckabee is showing as the Iowa leader in the Zogby tracking poll as well as the averaged ClearPolitics polling here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/iowa-primary.html

The MSNBC poll they discussed today showing Romney in the lead is listed at ClearPolitics as Mason Dixon, but as I've noted before poll averaging is probably the best measure assuming all the polls in the average are unbiased. Averaging can fail miserably if you include polling that is not objective - e.g. polls by groups with an agenda or axe to grind. I have no reason to believe any of these fall into that category.

Huckabee's press conference today was the talk of the media at MSNBC who suggested he was trying to be negative without running the negative ad he'd planned. It'll be interesting to see whether Romney or Huckabee can master the art of being very negative *without acting like you are being negative*. Both are working hard at that during these last few days.

Some polls are showing Obama over Clinton where MSNBC had almost a dead heat. It'll be fun to try to untangle some of this data over the next few days, though our predictions remain as Clinton and Romney with Iowa Victories.