Monday, December 10, 2007

Politics is just as seductive as entertainment to me and often times they seem almost alike. In a perfect world, I'd be a full-time talking head pundit by name and an entertainment reporter by night.

What I wouldn't want to be is a pollster as pundits are supposed to offer educated guesses while pollsters are supposed to offers facts based on statistical data. Pundits can make a goof or two and still retain their jobs. Pollsters are required to be right.

The folks at Zogby sent me the following information which I'd like to share with my like-minded readers. What interests me is how the pundits are now revising their "front runner has got it locked" rhetoric to "it's now anyone's game" as we get closer to actuall voting.

And I love the whole rap on Mitt Romney: focusing on his religion and his electibility, instead of his record as governor. Under four years of Mitt (actually less as he was out of the state much of his last year preparing his run) he did only several things which meant anything to me: he fired hack politician Billy Bulger as the president of UMass and he helped formed the Finance Control Board that has helped stabilize my home town.

That's two good things I can say about him and the only good things. Essentially he was completely unprepared for accomplishing something in government. The State House is not the same as a corporation and Romney failed to learn how to work with people. Once he made sure everyone knoew this was a steppingstone, he lost any juice he had with the public and his fellow pols.

Here's what the Zogby folks are saying:

Less than a month before Americans officially begin choosing their next President, the Democratic and Republican races in the first caucus state of Iowa are essentially dead heats, new Zogby telephone polls show.

In the first primary state of New Hampshire, Democrat Hillary Clinton of New York retains an 11ˆpoint lead, down from what had been a 15 point lead in late September. However, Republican Mitt Romney's strength in the Granite State remains strong with double the support of his nearest rival among likely Republican primary voters.


Clinton leads the Democratic race here with 27%, followed closely by Barack Obama of Illinois at 24% and John Edwards of North Carolina with 21%. There has been very little movement in the Democratic race here since last month, as the frontˆrunners essentially stood still and two lower tier candidates, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio gained two points each.

In fact, this race has remained remarkably stable for the past year. Zogby telephone polling in Iowa last January showed it to be a threeˆway race with 13% undecided ˆ now, 11% say they have yet to make up their minds.
Since last month, however, Clinton was able to solidify her standing among some likely caucusˆgoers by increasing the number of people who said she would be their second choice. This is a critical factor in the Democratic caucus in Iowa. In the caucuses, a first round of „balloting‰ is conducted, and those candidates who do not win at least 15% support are ruled „unviable‰ and supporters are directed to a second choice among those who remained „viable‰ before a second round of „balloting‰ is conducted.

Last month, Obama and Edwards were much more preferred as a second choice among those candidates who appear to be unviable under Democratic caucus rules. Clinton appears to be gaining ground among those who might consider experience to be an important factor in choosing a nominee ˆ she wins the lion‚s share of support among those who make Biden their first choice, and she does well among those who would first choose New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Among those who make Obama their first choice, Edwards is their second choice, and vice versa. Among those who make Clinton their first choice, Obama is the favorite second choice.

Among independents who said they would caucus with the Democrats, Obama leads with 31%, followed by Edwards at 26% and Clinton at 19%.

Among Iowa women, Clinton leads with 33%, followed by Obama and Edwards, both at 23%. Among men, Obama leads with 26%, followed by Clinton at 20% and Edwards at 19%. Richardson wins 10% and Biden 9% among men.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts retains a narrow edge over Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, but it is essentially a dead heat, the Zogby survey shows. Romney has lost five points in the last month, while Huckabee has soared, gaining 10 points since Zogby‚s Nov. 7 poll.

Huckabee has taken the most support from Romney, but his gain also comes as Fred Thompson of Tennessee and John McCain of Arizona lost ground.

Among women, Huckabee leads Romney, 25% to 24%, but Romney leads Huckabee among men, 28% to 26%.

Among those who consider themselves Born Again Christians, Huckabee enjoys a large lead over Romney, 42% to 22%, but he made significant gains among those who are not Born Again, moving from 7% in the Nov. 7 poll to 17% in this latest survey. Romney still leads among nonˆBorn Agains with 30% support. Rudy Giuliani of New York is third among nonˆBorn Agains.

Among current gun owners, Huckabee and Romney are tied at 27% support with Fred Thompson a distant third at 11%. Among former gun owners, Huckabee leads Romney, 34% to 28%. Among those who have never owned a gun, Huckabee leads Romney, 26% to 23%, with Giuliani winning 18% support.

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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