The story in Iowa during the past week to ten days was how Mike Huckabee had surpassed Mitt Romney in some Republican caucus polls in Iowa. The story this week is that this lead has now extended to double digits. A new McClatchy/MSNBC poll conducted by Mason-Dixon stakes Huckabee to a 12-point lead over Romney, 32 to 20 percent, in a survey of 400 likely voters.
Huckabee had previously led Romney by single digits in the latest Des Moines Register and Rasmussen polls, while Romney had a statistically insignificant 1-point lead over Huckabee in the latest American Research Group and Zogby surveys. A new Newsweek poll released this weekend found Huckabee ahead by a staggering 22 points; that poll, however, included 'leaners,' and was conducted of a sample of just 275 likely Republican voters (with a very large margin of error of plus or minus 7 points).
In the new McClatchy/MSNBC poll Fred Thompson drew 11 percent support, followed by John McCain at 7 percent, Rudy Giuliani at 5 percent, Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul at 2 percent, and Duncan Hunter and Alan Keyes at 1 percent. Nineteen percent were still undecided. Due to the extremely competitive and volatile GOP field, most state polls have found a much larger number of undecided Republican voters than Democratic voters.
Giuliani's fall in the Hawkeye state to 5 percent in this new poll is noteworthy: the former frontrunner in the Hawkeye State was polling as high as 21 percent in late September, but now appears to be conceding the state in what campaign insiders have now admitted to be a 'flawed strategy' of looking ahead to Florida and the Super Tuesday February 5th contests.
The McClatchy/MSNBC poll found less movement on the Democratic side—it's still a three-way race: Hillary Clinton (27 percent), Barack Obama (25 percent), and John Edwards (21 percent) lead the way followed by Bill Richardson (9 percent), Joe Biden (5 percent), Chris Dodd (1 percent) and Dennis Kucinich (1 percent). Just 11 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters were undecided. The poll was conducted with an end date of Thursday, December 6th—two days before Oprah Winfrey endorsed Obama in Des Moines.