How Would Victory Or Defeat In Iowa, N.H. Affect The Candidates?

Posted January 2, 2008 at 6:00pm

Read the full Gallup analysis

In mid-December, Gallup asked voters to play the role of the pundit and speculate about how victories or defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire would affect the chances of the candidates. Seven in 10 Americans, including 84 percent of Democrats, said that if Hillary Clinton lost Iowa, it would be “a temporary setback.” Fewer than one-third would see it as “a sign that her campaign is in serious trouble.” At the same time, most Americans – including nearly three in four Democrats – believe an Obama win in Iowa would be “a sign that he will seriously challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination,” and not just a “temporary victory” for him. The public is less likely to consider a potential Edwards victory in Iowa to be significant . Fifty-six percent of Americans, and the same percentage of Democrats, say that if Clinton wins both the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, another candidate could still win the Democratic nomination.

Gallup says Americans are divided almost evenly over whether winning the Iowa caucuses would be a temporary victory for Mitt Romney or a sign that he is a serious challenger to win the Republican nomination. Republicans tend to take a Romney win a bit more seriously, as the slight majority say winning Iowa would be a significant sign of Romney’s strength as a challenger. Americans are also closely divided over the meaning of a Mike Huckabee win in Iowa: 51 percent say it would be a temporary victory for him while 46 percent say it would be a sign that he is a serious challenger for the GOP nomination. For Rudy Giuliani, only 28 percent of Americans believe that losing both Iowa and New Hampshire would be only a temporary setback for him, even though he has very publicly bypassed those states and aimed his sights at the Feb. 5 mega-primary day. Almost three-quarters say it would be a sign his campaign is in serious trouble. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say losses in both early states would be a sign of serious trouble.