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Final Iowa Polls Released Today

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Two final polls of Iowans were released today—with mixed results on the Democratic side and Mike Huckabee the consensus leader for the GOP.

For the Democrats, Zogby's tracking poll conducted December 30 through January 2 finds Barack Obama leading with 31 percent, John Edwards in second at 27 percent, and Hillary Clinton in third with 24 percent. This marks a shift in the Zogby poll from just a half-week ago, when it was Clinton at 31 percent, Obama at 27 percent, and Edwards at 24 percent. The media would certainly have a field day if Clinton places third in Iowa, even in a close three-way race.

The final American Research Group (ARG) survey, however, tells a different story: Clinton at 34 percent, Obama at 25 percent, and Edwards at 21 percent. ARG has tracked this race with 17 polls over the past 13 months, and has reported Clinton in the lead in 15 of them (losing out to Obama in late November and Edwards in April).

Many pundits are predicting an Obama victory, though an equal number are shying away from making any prediction. While Edwards has now failed to poll on top in 42 of the last 43 surveys of Iowans, Smart Politics outlined in our January 2nd entry several reasons why the former Senator could emerge the victor later tonight.

On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee leads in both polls released today. The numbers:

Zogby
Huckabee = 31%
Romney = 25%
Thompson = 11%
Paul = 10%
McCain = 10%
Giuliani = 6%
Hunter = 1%
No opinion = 6%

ARG
Huckabee = 29%
Romney = 24%
Thompson = 13%
McCain = 11%
Giuliani = 8%
Paul = 6%
Hunter = 4%
Keyes = 1%
No opinion = 4%

Beyond the headlines tonight, watch for who comes in third; Ron Paul, who raised an astonishing 20 million in the 4th quarter of 2007, is surging and is expected to get out the vote among his supporters. A third-place finish for Paul will create an uproar over Fox News' decision to exclude him (and all candidates not polling in double-digits nationally) to their upcoming debate this weekend. Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have already been invited by Fox to participate, and a Paul victory over two or possibly three of them tonight would even further rally Paul's growing army.

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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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