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Obama, Huckabee On Top In Two New Iowa Polls

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With less than three weeks until the Iowa Caucuses, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee continue to build on their rising support over the past few weeks, according to two statewide polls conducted this week.

On the Democratic side, Obama leads Hillary Clinton and John Edwards by nine points each in the new Research 2000 survey, and is tied with Clinton in a new Hotline poll.

Research 2000 (December 10-13, 2007; 500 LV)
Obama = 33%
Edwards = 24%
Clinton = 24%
Richardson = 9%
Biden = 3%
Dodd = 1%
Kucinich = 1%
Gravel = 0%
No opinion = 5%

Hotline (December 7-12, 2007; 569 LV)
Obama = 27%
Clinton = 27%
Edwards = 22%
Richardson = 8%
Biden = 5%
Dodd = 1%
Kucinich = 1%
Gravel = 0%
No opinion = 10%

Obama's momentum occurs during a week which saw many events work in his favor: Oprah Winfrey's endorsement in Des Moines, a televised Democratic debate in which Obama delivered the best line (at Clinton's expense), and a media frenzy critical of the Clinton campaign for a statement released by a (now former) campaign co-chair who raised the specter of Obama's involvement with drugs as a youth.

Edwards, meanwhile, is poised and waiting to leapfrog both Obama and Clinton—hoping to benefit from this tête-à-tête among the frontrunners, adopting a more genial tone and remaining focused on the issues in a state which is known to have a distaste for negative campaigning.

On the Republican side, Huckabee capped off a second week in which he has come out on top in every public poll (Mason-Dixon, Newsweek, Rasmussen, Hotline, Research 2000). There appears to be two races going on: Huckabee and Mitt Romney for first and Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Ron Paul for third.

Research 2000 (December 10-13, 2007; 500 LV)
Huckabee = 31%
Romney = 22%
Giuliani = 9%
Thompson = 9%
McCain = 7%
Paul = 7%
Tancredo = 2%
Hunter = 1%
No opinion = 12%

Hotline (December 7-12, 2007; 446 LV)

Huckabee = 36%
Romney = 23%
Giuliani = 12%
Thompson = 8%
McCain = 5%
Paul = 5%
Tancredo = 1%
Hunter = 0%
No opinion = 10%

Huckabee's strong numbers continue to come largely at the expense of the Thompson-McCain-Giuliani block. Romney's support has remained between 20 percent and 31 percent in 16 of 17 public polls conducted since November. This indicates a good base of support so that if Huckabee should misstep, the former Governor of Massachusetts should be able to carry the Hawkeye State on the road to New Hampshire (where Romney' support has been measured in double-digits in 17 of 19 polls conducted since November).

Previous post: What Will Stop The Huckabee Surge?
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Political Crumbs

No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


The Second Time Around

Former Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez became the seventh major party or second place gubernatorial candidate in Colorado to get a second chance at the office when he narrowly won his party's nomination last month. Two of the previous six candidates were successful. Democrat Alva Adams lost his first gubernatorial bid to Benjamin Eaton in 1884, but was victorious two years later against William Meyer. Democrat Charles Johnson placed third in 1894 behind Republican Albert McIntyre and Populist incumbent Governor David Waite but returned as the Fusion (Democrat/Populist) nominee in 1898 and defeated GOPer Henry Wolcott. Gubernatorial candidates who received a second chance but lost both general elections include Democrat Thomas Patterson (1888, 1914), Progressive Edward Costigan (1912, 1914), Republican Donald Brotzman (1954, 1956), and Republican David Strickland (1978, 1986).


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