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January 3, 2008
Your Guess is as Good as Mine
I honestly don't know how either party's caucus results will play out tonight. Usually, you can get a good idea of perhaps not a winner but at least you can figure out who's up, who's down, and who's on life support.
Not with the Iowa Caucuses. Races in both parties are just too close to call. So many variables. So much volatility among the voters. And the polls are whacky.
As an example, here are the final two polls out on Iowa. First, ARG:
(Number in parentheses is from ARG survey taken last week)
The spread between Huckabee and Romney is the margin of error which means they are virtually tied. Note Thompson's huge bump. Is he surging? Many think so although he probably doesn't have enough juice to catch either front runner for second place. But a strong third sends him along the campaign trail - despite what you might have heard about him dropping out. (Fred and his staff are denying the filthy rumor every chance they get.)
Meanwhile, Zogby's daily tracking poll (three day rolling average) tells a little different story:
* Huckabee - 31%
* Romney - 25%
* Thompson - 11%
Here the Huckster opens up a slight lead on Romney with Thompson and McCain far back in the pack.
On the Democratic side, Obama has sprinted into the lead:
Democrat Barack Obama continued his upward momentum through the evening before the Iowa caucuses, capturing the lead ahead of rivals John Edwards and Hillary Clinton.. Meanwhile, Republican Mike Hucakbee widened his lead over Mitt Romney down the stretch, the newest and last Reuters/C–SPAN/Zogby daily telephone tracking poll in Iowa shows.
Obama broke through the 30% barrier for the first time, gaining 31% support after another strong day leading up to the caucuses. But more dramatic was Clinton’s four-point drop in this last day of tracking. Edwards moved into second place by himself after another day where he steadily gained ground. This fifth and final daily tracking poll was conducted using live telephone operators in the Zogby call center in Upstate New York. Edwards finished this Zogby daily tracking in Iowa in the same place as four years ago, when Zogby correctly identified the finishing order of the candidates in that caucus.Hillary Clinton has been playing down her chances the last 48 hours and could very well finish 3rd.
All of this matters little in the end. The process of caucusing is complicated for the Democrats and it is possible for any of the top three candidates to win or come in third.
We'll see by midnight tonight central time.