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Who Is Driving Upper Midwest Support of Edwards?

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As discussed in the May 4th Smart Politics entry, John Edwards is faring much better than Hillary Clinton in head-to-head matchups against GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani across the nation, and in the Upper Midwest in particular (as measured by recent American Research Group polling). Edwards holds leads against Giuliani of 14 points in Iowa, 10 points in Wisconsin, and 8 points in Iowa. Clinton, meanwhile, is basically in a dead heat with Giuliani—slightly behind in Iowa (-3 points) and Wisconsin (-1 point), and slightly ahead in Minnesota (+3 points).

An analysis of ARG poll crosstabs finds Edwards has large advantages over Clinton among several key groups. In terms of party identification, Edwards and Clinton basically pick up the same amount of support among self-identified Democrats, but Edwards is able to pry away greater numbers of Republicans (+6) and Independents (+10) than is Clinton in all three states when paired against the former NYC mayor.

In Wisconsin, Edwards received the nod of 48 percent of independents, compared to 34 percent for Clinton when facing Giuliani. In Iowa, Edwards received the support of 57 percent of self-identified independents, while Clinton received just 41 percent.

Additionally, Republicans in Minnesota (20 percent), Iowa (18 percent) and Wisconsin (17 percent) all were more likely to back Edwards rather than Clinton (13 percent, 8 percent, and 12 percent respectively) when matched up against Giuliani.

Not surprisingly, men were also much more likely to back Edwards than Clinton, especially in Iowa (+13) and Wisconsin (+8). Females lent their support equally to both candidates in Wisconsin and Minnesota, with Edwards picking up an extra 6 points (60 percent) of likely female voters in Iowa as compared to Clinton (54 percent).

Edwards also held advantages over Clinton among all age groups: 18-34, 35-54, and 55+ year olds. His advantage was especially strong among the 35-54 year olds, from whom Edwards picked up 15 more points than Clinton in Wisconsin, 10 more points in Iowa, and 4 more points in Minnesota.

Of course, when Democratic primary polls are released in each of these three states, one can determine if these demographics hold across the Upper Midwest without the introduction of the Giuliani variable. Edwards is currently leading Clinton in the latest ARG Iowa poll, by a 27 to 23 margin.

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