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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Hawkeye Poll: Hold the High Fives

The Politico is re-running a piece from the Daily Iowan by Kelsey Beltramea noting former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s strong showing in the latest Iowa University “Hawkeye” poll, conducted 10/17-24. The poll also shows Senators Obama and Clinton in a statistical tie. But before supporters of Obama and the Huckster start slapping the high fives, they should give Mark Blumenthal’s Pollster.com post on the poll a sober read. Blumenthal notes that the poll uses different methodology and he crunches current registration numbers, Iowa Caucus turnout figures in ’04 and ’88, and concludes:

…this poll is sampling a considerably broader population of Iowa adults than has turned out to attend past caucuses….So interpret these results in that context and with great caution. The trends observed by comparing the August an October Hawkeye polls are meaningful – because they used the same methodology for both polls – but apply only to the very broad population of Iowa adults sampled. It helps that the trends in this poll bear a resemblance to what we have seen lately on other Iowa polls, but we advise huge grains of salt before comparing the support for any particular candidate on this survey to that measured by any other survey.

Doesn’t mean Huckabee and Obama aren’t getting some new traction; it’s just that this particular poll has limited value for charting a real trend.

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