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Iowa poll shows state marches to its own drummer

October 29, 2007 | 11:24 am

A new poll out of Iowa underscores the disconnect between voter preferences in that state -- among members of both parties -- and nationwide trends.

Hillary Clinton may be the dominant choice of Democrats nationally, as shown by the recent L.A. Times/Bloomberg Poll, but the party's contest in Iowa remains very much up for grabs between her and Barack Obama, with John Edwards also in contention, the new survey found.

In the Republican race, although Mitt Romney barely got into double digits in The Times/Bloomberg Poll and ran significantly behind the leader, Rudy Giuliani, their standings are reversed in Iowa.

Here are the rounded-off results from the University of Iowa Hawkeye poll, conducted over seven days in mid-October of those who said they expected to attend the state caucuses that kick off the nominating races on Jan. 3:

Democrats: Clinton, 29%; Obama, 27%; Edwards, 20%; Bill Richardson, 7%; Joe Biden, 5%.

Republicans: Romney, 36%; Giuliani, 13%; Mike Huckabee, 13%; Fred Thompson, 11%; John McCain, 6%.

You can view the poll here.

The results may give more pause to those tracking the Democratic race than the GOP contest.  A win in Iowa has been the linchpin of Romney's strategy, and he has built an impressive organization there. Giuliani, by contrast, has invested relatively little in the state; his campaign is premised on the assumption he can overcome a poor showing.

Historically, in fact, "bounces" coming out of Iowa have been much more pronounced in the Democratic field, so the results from the new poll are bound to mainly hearten the beleaguered Obama camp.  Still, a couple of caveats are in order.

The poll's margin of error is large -- more than 5 percentage points for its Democratic numbers and almost 6 points on the Republican side.  And if ever there was a Democratic campaign that seems positioned to withstand a less-than-stellar performance in Iowa and quickly regain its footing, it would seem to be Clinton's.

-- Don Frederick