WISCONSINREPORT.COM (01/03/08) - Iowa residents start the process of selecting the United States presidential candidates for each of the major parties today (Thursday). The races are extremely close in the top tiers of both the Democrats and Republican fields of candidates trying to be at the top of the heap. A new poll from Rueters /C-Span /Rugby showed Barack Obama leading John Edwards among Democrats and Hillary Clinton falling to third. The poll also showed Republican Mike Huckabee holding onto his lead over rival Mitt Romney. WisconsinReport.com has more.
This first attempt during the presidential primary season to have party faithfuls and independents indicate who they prefer to run is likely to be historicly significant. It could weed out some of the lesser popular candidates indicated in polls. It could also catipault those same lesser known candidates to the forefront.
Polls in Iowa are particularly difficult since fewer than 250,000 of the state's almost 3 million residents are likely to vote. So, their accuracy could at times be slightly off, and sometimes, polls can be completely off the mark. So what happens by the conclusion of this one day caucus in Iowa could be surprising.
Other polls show both races even tighter in the final hours before Iowa opens the state-by-state battle to choose candidates to succeed President George W. Bush - a process that will climax in the November 8 presidential election.
The Democratic caucus begins at 6:30 p.m. CST (7:30 EST, 0030 GMT), with Republicans starting 30 minutes later. Results could begin to appear within an hour or two.
The primary candidates for president of the United States and their standings in the poll mentioned above:
Obama was at 31 percent among likely Democratic caucus-goers, Edwards at 27 percent and Clinton 24 percent. No other Democrat was in double digits.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was fourth with 7 percent and Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden was at 5 percent. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd was at 1 percent and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich was under 1 percent.
Mike Huckabee expanded his lead to six points, 31 to 25 percent, over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the one-time leader in Iowa who has attacked Huckabee for his record as Arkansas governor.
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is in third place in the Republican race at 11 percent and Arizona Sen. John McCain slipped two points to 10 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul also registered 10 percent.
About 6 percent of Republicans and 5 percent of Democrats remain undecided, leaving room for late swings in the Iowa caucus.
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