January 4, 2008

NOVELTY ACT:

Huckabee and Obama win Iowa caucuses: Their decisive victories set the stage for New Hampshire and beyond (Mark Z. Barabak, 1/04/08, Los Angeles Times)

More than half of those who participated said they were first-time caucusgoers, according to a survey of those entering polling places, and about 4 in 10 voted for Obama, compared with about 3 in 10 for Clinton.

By a large margin, Democratic caucusgoers placed a higher premium on change than experience, and that too boosted Obama. Slightly more than half of Democrats said their top priority was bringing about change, and Obama won the support of about half of those voters. Just 20% said experience was most important, and nearly half of those backed Clinton.

Obama also benefited from overwhelming support among young voters. Nearly a quarter of those who turned out Thursday night were younger than 30, and nearly 6 in 10 of those supported Obama, compared with fewer than 2 in 10 for Clinton.

With the Iowa results in -- and a mass exodus of candidates, reporters and other camp followers -- the focus of the presidential contest abruptly shifts from the agricultural heartland to the hamlets and high-tech centers of New Hampshire.

After speaking to supporters, several candidates boarded chartered jets and left Iowa to get in a full day of Granite State campaigning.

Voters there pride themselves on making up their own minds, which does not always mean ratifying the decision of Iowans; a scornful saying holds that Iowans pick corn and New Hampshire picks presidents.

The race in each state is as different as the landscape. The Democratic contest has been largely a battle between Clinton and Obama, with Edwards running far back in third place.

On the Republican side, Romney and McCain are battling for first place, with former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Huckabee trailing well behind.

After sending conflicting signals about his desire to compete -- reaching out extensively through mailers and a phone-bank effort, but visiting only occasionally -- Giuliani ended up finishing sixth in Iowa.


Her 2nd place sets her Ms Clinton up reasonably well for NH, but only if she's willing to define the amorphous Senator Obama, who's perfectly happy to seem all things to all people. It's not as if she can drive her own negatives much higher, but she has to spike his.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 4, 2008 10:47 AM
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