Campaign Polls: All Politics is Local?
Rudy Giuliani is leading the Republican race by a wide margin and Mitt Romney is in a distant fourth. Hillary Clinton is dominating the Democratic field with Barack Obama a distant second and nobody else even close. That’s the conventional wisdom as reinforced by the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Yet, quite a few serious analysts think Mitt Romney is in the best position to win the GOP nomination and that John Edwards, not Obama, is the strongest challenger to Clinton. How can that be? They’re ignoring the national polls and focusing on the three races that will set the stage for the race: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The latest Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg survey in those states reinforces that view.
Andrew Malcolm breaks it down:
At the beginning of the autumn dash to the primaries, a new Times/Bloomberg Poll of 3,211 Democrats and Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina shows that Hillary Clinton maintains a strong lead in all three states (28%, 35% and 45%, respectively). John Edwards is a relatively close second in Iowa (23%) with Obama at 19%, tied for second at 16% with Barack Obama in New Hampshire and trailing Obama badly (27% to 7%) in South Carolina.
In the Republican race, Mitt Romney holds a clear lead in Iowa (28%) to Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson tied for second at 16%. Mike Huckabee comes in third at 8%, John McCain at 7%, Tom Tancredo at 3%, Ron Paul and Sam Brownback at 2% and Duncan Hunter at 1%.
Romney maintains a slimmer lead in New Hampshire, 28% to Giuliani’s 23%, while McCain has moved up to third with 12% and Thompson at 11%, two points behind Don’t Know. In South Carolina, newcomer Thompson has surged into the lead with 26% to Giuliani’s 23%, McCain’s 15% and Romney’s 9%. Huckabee has 6%. The poll was taken Sept. 6-10 with a margin of error of +/- 4 or 5%.
So much for Huckabee’s strong showing in the Ames Straw Poll, I guess. There are still four months of campaigning left, so these numbers are likely quite soft. I’m still not convinced that Romney can get the Republican base to support him, even if he wins Iowa and New Hampshire convincingly. South Carolina will break the momentum and perhaps derail the train permanently.
On the Democratic side, though, the nomination appears wrapped up. Granted, Howard Dean seemed a sure thing in the fall of 2003, too. But he was a newcomer to the national political scene. Clinton has been in the spotlight since 1991 and has shown remarkable discipline.