The latest Des Moines Register poll is out, the gold standard for polling in Iowa, and it confirms that Mike Huckabee has surged passed Mitt Romney to take a slight 29 percent to 24 percent lead. That’s a huge 17-point leap for Huckabee over last month’s poll and a 5 point drop for Romney. In his analysis of the results, Register columnist David Yepsen notes that though Huckabee is moving up faster than any candidate in either party, he has a thin staff in Iowa compared to Romney’s impressive organization. Rudy Giuliani actually improved slighly, moving to third place from fourth, at 13 percent (up 2 points). The biggest drop was Fred Thompson, who saw his support cut in half to 9 percent, from 18, and he has now slided to fourth place. McCain remained the same at 7 percent, but he is now tied with Ron Paul, who rose 3 points from the last poll. These results bolster the view that Huckabee’s rise, while threatening Romney, is coming mostly at Thompson’s expense.
On the Democratic side, Obama swapped with Clinton to take the lead, 28 to 25, with Edwards right behind at 23. But Yepsen warns that a lot of Obama’s support comes from younger voters, who tend to have lower turnout. Perhaps most interesting about the poll is that Obama has overtaken Clinton among female voters, who make up 6 out of 10 caucus goers, and a demographic that Clinton had hoped to tap into.
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