Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where she holds 19-point and 14-point leads, respectively. However in Iowa she is in a statistical tie with Barack Obama. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on Sunday had Obama in the lead among likely caucus-goers along with Mike Huckabee on the Republican side. Overall, Clinton’s standing in Iowa and New Hampshire is no better than Howard Dean’s at a comparable point in the 2004 presidential campaign. However, Clinton has stronger support in all three states than did the former Vermont governor. Clinton is widely seen as the candidate who “has the best chance of defeating the Republican nominee.” But fewer Democratic voters say that electability is an important factor in choosing a candidate than did so four years ago.
The survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, in collaboration with the Associated Press, was conducted Nov. 7-25 among 460 voters likely to vote in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses; 594 likely voters in New Hampshire’s Jan. 8 Democratic primary; and 373 likely voters in South Carolina’s Jan. 26 Democratic primary. In addition, a separate national survey was conducted among 467 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who say they are likely to vote in a primary or caucus in their state.