Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Obama Surging in Iowa?

Last week, an ABC/WaPo poll showed Obama with a slim lead over Hillary in Iowa. This is a most interesting development, because if he can pull off a win there, he has a very good chance to continue into New Hampshire--independents can vote in either primary, and they tilt heavily to Obama. Two primaries in five days, with the money he's got, would put him back in the picture. The question, then, is whether this poll is revealing a new trend or is an outlier.

The answer, as always, is at The folks there aggregate polling and create trendlines based on the average of recent polls--eliminating the see-saw effect of individual polling. The result? With something like 35 days left to go, Obama is definitely trending up. But wait!--so is Hillary. Both are gaining as Edwards voters jump ship, but the split of deserters seems to be weighted toward Obama. Look at the trendline to the right (a detail of this larger graph). The shakeout began back in the summer. First Edwards started to slide, but most of his support went to Hillary; Obama flattened out. But in the past quarter or so, Obama has found new life. And all the polling from mid-November to now shows Obama neck-and-neck with Hillary:
Research 2000 (11/12-14): Hillary 27%, Obama 25%
ABC/Post (11/14-18): Hillary 26%, Obama 30%
Strategic Vision (11/23-25): Hillary 29%, Obama 29%
And what do the horse-racers at the Iowa Elections Market think? They are also starting to come back around to Obama. (A description of the IEM, and the doom it seemed to be predicting for Obama just before his rise, is here.) He's obviously got a ways to go to close the gap, but if he wins Iowa, watch his trend line snap right back up with Hillary's, like it was in March. The IEM, despite its unorthodox methodology, is a pretty good weathervane. That it supports the trendlines reported on Pollster is more evidence that Obama's on the move.

Just over a month to go, but things are starting to get interesting.

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