Two new polls were released Thursday for the presidential race in Iowa, by Rasmussen and American Research Group (ARG), each showing a battle unfolding at the top of the Democratic and Republican tickets.
On the Democratic side, a new Rasmussen poll of 1,239 likely voters found Hillary Clinton at 29 percent, narrowly edging out John Edwards (25 percent) and Barack Obama (24 percent). In the ARG poll of 600 likely voters, Clinton received 27 percent, compared to 21 percent to Obama and 20 percent for Edwards. Bill Richardson (10 percent, 12 percent) and Joe Biden (3 percent, 5 percent) rounded out the top five candidates in the Rasmussen and ARG polls respectively.
Only ARG released results on the GOP side of the ticket today, with Mike Huckabee (24 percent) now within just two points of Mitt Romney (26 percent). Huckabee's surge (discussed here at Smart Politics on October 30th), is throwing a wrench the in the Romney plan: sweeping the small, early states to gain momentum on national frontrunner Rudy Giuliani as the primaries head into Florida and California in late January and early February 2008.
Huckabee's numbers are up 5 points from just two weeks ago in the previous ARG poll and up 20 points since the end of September. Romney's support has remained steady in the Hawkeye State, coming in at 27 percent in ARG's August survey, 22 percent in September, 27 percent in October and 26 percent this week.
Giuliani continues to lag in Iowa at 11 percent—his lowest total (by five points) in Iowa as measured by ARG in 12 surveys since December 2006. Giuliani was tied with Fred Thompson and one point ahead of John McCain (10 percent). Giuliani has not launched a media campaign in Iowa to date, while Romney started his media buys several months ago.
Ron Paul (3 percent), Tom Tancredo (1 percent), and Duncan Hunter (1 percent) round out the GOP field in the ARG survey.