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Latest IA Poll: Clinton Continues to Lead, GOP Race Tightens

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In American Research Group's (ARG) 10th consecutive monthly poll of likely Iowa caucus voters, Hillary Clinton leads the Democratic pack for the 9th time. Clinton reached the 30 percent support mark for the 8th time, good for a 6-point lead over Barack Obama. At 24 percent, this was the largest amount of measured support for Obama since ARG began polling in December 2006.

The poll found 19 percent support for John Edwards—a decline for the third straight month after reaching 29 percent in June 2007. Edwards, who had lead in many public polls in Iowa during the Spring and early Summer, now trails Clinton in almost all recent surveys.

Rounding out the Democratic field were Bill Richardson (10 percent), Joe Biden (3 percent), Chris Dodd (1 percent), Dennis Kucinich (1 percent), and Mike Gravel (0 percent). Thirteen percent of likely Democratic caucus voters were undecided.

On the Republican side ARG's poll shows the race has tightened, with Mitt Romney's double-digit lead in August 2007 now within the margin of error. ARG measured Romney's support at 22 percent, followed by Rudy Giuliani at 21 percent, and Fred Thompson at 16 percent.

John McCain, who is perceived to have had strong debate performances of late, including a high-profile debate in New Hampshire last month, received 11 percent, up from 5 percent in August.

Support for Mike Huckabee, who was second in Iowa's August Straw Poll, dropped from 14 percent in August to 4 percent in the new poll. Huckabee was followed by Sam Brownback (2 percent), Duncan Hunter (2 percent), Ron Paul (2 percent), Tom Tancredo (1 percent), and new GOP candidate Alan Keyes (1 percent).

Newt Gingrich, who recently announced he would not be seeking the Republican nomination, received 5 percent. Thirteen percent of likely Republican caucus voters were undecided.

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Political Crumbs

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When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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