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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

527s Hit Hard in IA, Key Poll Expected Tonight

Jane Norman of the Des Moines Register Washington, D.C. bureau reports on the growing controversy about nonprofit issue ads being run in Iowa in the closing days of the presidential campaign. There’s no real shockers here — the article spotlights accusations against the Edwards, Clinton and Huckabee campaigns for abusing federal election law prohibiting issue-focused groups and candidate campaigns from coordinating activities. Norman notes that the Federal Election Commission found “widespread illegal conduct” by 527s in ’04 and quotes Fred Wertheimer, head of the Democracy 21 reform group: “it appears that 527 groups are blatantly and arrogantly at it again in the current presidential race.”
Don’t hold your breath expecting fines or penalties. Allegations of law-breaking are usually difficult to prove, and it would be hard to find a campaign that didn’t get a little too cozy with a 527 at some point. The hunch here is that the ads in question have been targeted for criticism because they are effective. You can see the pro-Edwards ad here and the pro-Huckabee ad here. A host of Iowa campaign ads can be viewed here.
In a close race — and it looks close for both Dems and Republicans in Iowa, any small or large factor can be credited with making the difference between a win or a loss. Among the most recent polls, the MSNBC-McClatchy/Mason Dixon poll conducted 12/26-28 has Romney and Huckabee in a stat tie in the GOP race. Ditto for Edwards, Obama and Clinton in the Democratic contest, echoing the results of other recent the polls cited by TDS yesterday.
The much-anticipated Des Moines Register poll, regarded by many as the ‘mother of Iowa polls’ just before the caucuses, will be reported in tomorrow’s edition of The Register, but the results will be circulating on the internet later this evening. Among others, The Baltimore Sun‘s political blog “The Swamp” plans to post results tonight.

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