Despite the fact that most recent public polls find John Edwards trailing Hillary Clinton in Iowa's Democratic Party caucus horserace, Edwards fares the best among his chief Democratic Party rivals when matched up against the leading GOP candidates.
A mid-September poll of registered voters by SurveyUSA measured all head-to-head general election matchup combinations between Democrats Clinton, Edwards, and Barack Obama and Republicans Giuliani, Romney, and Fred Thompson.
Edwards performed far and away the best among all six candidates with a net 47-point advantage over Giuliani (+14), Thompson (+17), and Romney (+16). Obama was the second strongest candidate, with a net 28-point advantage over Giuliani (+8), Thompson (+10), and Romney (+10). Clinton was the weakest of the three Democrats, with a net 21-point advantage over Giuliani (+8), Thompson (+6), and Romney (+7).
Giuliani (-30 net point disadvantage) fared only slightly better than Thompson (-33 points) and Romney (-33 points).
These early pairings indicate not only that Edwards is still a strong candidate in Iowa, but that the Hawkeye State—which narrowly voted for President George W. Bush in 2004—is clearly leaning Democratic at this time for the upcoming 2008 election.