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IA-Sen, IA-Gov, Iowa caucus: Highlights from the new Suffolk poll

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 15:40:00 PM CDT

The Suffolk University Political Research Center asked 800 Iowa "likely voters" about this year's biggest races. The margin of error for the survey, conducted between April 3 and April 8, is plus or minus 3.5 percent. Suffolk's press release summarizing the highlights is here. Full results are here (pdf). Tables are here (pdf).

Representative Bruce Braley leads all Republican rivals for U.S. Senate in the first Iowa poll conducted after Braley's comments about Senator Chuck Grassley gained wide attention. Braley is still better-known than the GOP candidates, and more Iowans have a favorable than unfavorable impression of him. The bad news for Braley is that he is below 40 percent against each of the Republican candidates.

Suffolk's poll indicates that the GOP IA-Sen primary is now a two-tier race, with State Senator Joni Ernst and Mark Jacobs each commanding more than 20 percent support, and the other candidates in the single digits. That makes sense, since Ernst and Jacobs have the most establishment support and are the only Senate candidates who have been able to raise their name recognition through paid advertising. But 40 percent of respondents were undecided.

Governor Terry Branstad's still in positive territory, with 48.5 percent of respondents viewing him favorably and about 35.4 percent unfavorably. His lead over Democratic State Senator Jack Hatch is smaller in this poll than in any other Iowa survey I've seen, though: 42.4 percent to 32.1 percent.

Among respondents who said they are likely to participate in the 2016 Democratic caucuses, 63 percent favor Hillary Clinton. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was far behind with 12 percent, followed by Vice President Joe Biden with 10 percent. It's hard to say who is really in second place, since the margin of error for the Democratic caucus-goer subsample is quite large (plus or minus 8.4 percent). Nevertheless, Clinton clearly maintains a commanding lead.

I wouldn't read much into the Iowa GOP caucus results from this survey. All the potential presidential candidates (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, and Condoleezza Rice) are clumped close together, between 6 and 11 percent support. That's within the the margin of error of plus or minus 8.7 percent for that subset of the Suffolk poll.

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Weekend open thread: New Register poll edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 16:25:00 PM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? The hour I lost with "spring forward" was the hour I needed to get the open thread up at the usual time. But better late than never. All topics are welcome.

For the past week, the Des Moines Register has been releasing results from its latest statewide poll. Selzer & Co surveyed 703 Iowa adults between February 23 and 26, producing a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent. This morning's newspaper revealed that President Barack Obama's approval rating has hit a new low in the state he carried in the last two presidential elections. Just 36 percent of respondents said they approve of Obama's job performance, while 59 percent disapprove. Those findings will embolden Republican candidates who plan to make this November's elections a referendum on the president's policies.

Looking ahead to the 2016 caucuses, 50 percent of Iowans, including 88 percent of the Democrats in the Register's poll sample, think it would be good for Hillary Clinton to run for president again. Support for Vice President Joe Biden was much lower, with 33 percent of the full sample and 58 percent of the Democrats saying it would be good for Biden to run for president again. Like I've said before, there is no evidence Hillary Clinton has any lasting problem with Iowa Democrats.

U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's reputation with Iowa Republicans doesn't appear to have suffered from being on the losing ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012. Selzer's poll for the Register found that 67 percent of Republican respondents think it's a good idea for Ryan to run for president. The full sample was split, with 41 percent supporting a Ryan presidential bid and 42 percent saying it would be a bad idea. In the Republican sub-sample, 65 percent said it would be good for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to run for president again, 50 percent said the same about Texas Governor Rick Perry, and 48 percent said the same about former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.

My impression last year was that other potential candidates, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, are telling Iowa Republicans what they want to hear, while Santorum's message is not striking the same chord. If Ryan runs for president, he will surely come under attack for recent deals with Democrats on the federal budget.  

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Time for a moratorium on "Hillary's Iowa problem" stories

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:16:00 AM CST

Public Policy Polling's latest Iowa survey should end any speculation that the 2016 Iowa caucuses will be competitive if Hillary Clinton runs for president again.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be completely dominant. 67% want her to be the nominee, compared to 12% for Joe Biden, 5% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Mark Warner, 2% for Andrew Cuomo, and 1% for Cory Booker. Clinton's dominance is near total- she has an 82/9 favorability rating and polls over 60% with liberals, moderates, men, women, young voters, and older voters alike.

Click here for full results and cross-tabs. The general election could be highly competitive in Iowa if Clinton is the nominee, but there is no sign of any vulnerability in the Democratic caucuses.

Time for bloggers and political analysts to stop claiming that Hillary has some lingering "Iowa problem" due to her allegedly "dismal" 2008 caucus showing. Fact is, Clinton didn't do as badly here as many think. There is no evidence of any lingering fallout from her alleged failure to connect with Iowa Democrats.

It's also time for the Des Moines Register to stop dancing around to avoid asking Iowa Democrats directly whom they would support in the 2016 caucuses. If you want to argue that the caucuses are a wide-open contest on the Democratic side, show us a poll to prove it.

P.S.--Public Policy Polling's survey suggests that if Clinton doesn't run, the caucuses will be much more competitive, with Vice President Joe Biden the early front-runner.  

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Tyler Olson preparing second act in Iowa politics

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 06:40:00 AM CST

Addendum to yesterday's post: I think the Ready for Hillary super PAC is mostly a waste of time. Hillary Clinton will either run for president, or she won't. Her decision won't depend on how successfully other people "grassroots organize" on her behalf.

That said, Ready for Hillary could become a vehicle for those who want to show the Clintons their usefulness, or at least make money selling a list of Clinton supporters to somebody's future campaign.

It's worth noting that State Representative Tyler Olson took a leading role in organizing last Saturday's Ready for Hillary event in Des Moines. A year ago, he was a rising star, newly rubber-stamped as the Iowa Democratic Party chair and the ranking Democrat on an important Iowa House committee. He gave up the party leadership position to run for governor, and later bowed out of that campaign for family reasons. Olson has confirmed he's not seeking re-election to the Iowa House in 2014. But he obviously isn't done with politics. Helping to start an "informal conversation" about how to engage Hillary Clinton's Iowa supporters may get him a paid staff or advisory position before the 2016 caucuses. He may feel pressure to jump on the bandwagon early, since he endorsed Barack Obama rather than Clinton in 2007. Still, he doesn't have nearly as much to add to a Clinton effort as Jackie Norris, who was state political director for Al Gore's 2000 Iowa campaign and was deeply involved in the mechanics of Obama's 2008 campaign.

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Jackie Norris is fired up and ready to go for Hillary Clinton

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 14:45:23 PM CST

Of all the non-events to get major Iowa caucus coverage, this past weekend's "Ready for Hillary" meeting in Des Moines must be among the most ridiculous.

One significant piece of news emerged from the pro-Hillary super PAC's first foray to Iowa, though. Jackie Norris, who managed Barack Obama's 2008 general election campaign here, is now publicly on the Hillary bandwagon. In other words, one of the most important early Obama supporters in Iowa has just told any other would-be 2016 Democratic presidential contenders, "You're on your own."  

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Weekend open thread: Storylines

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Dec 15, 2013 at 17:45:00 PM CST

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? I saw Peter Jackson's new Hobbit film, and it's a good movie if you don't mind the director taking major liberties with the plot of the novel. If you're a dedicated fan of Tolkien's story, you will probably agree with Christopher Orr, who called it "bad fan fiction." What I appreciate about Jackson is that unlike George Lucas (massively overrated as a director in my opinion), he didn't try to make his film too much of a kids' movie. There were plenty of children in the theater audience, but The Hobbit doesn't include as many stupid characters or cheap laughs as the Star Wars movies.

Today's edition of the Sunday Des Moines Register contains some findings from the latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co. The margins of error are large due to small sample sizes of Iowa Democrats and Republicans, but the headline news is that Hillary Clinton's favorable/unfavorable numbers are 50 percent/45 percent with all Iowa respondents and 89 percent/7 percent with Democrats surveyed by Selzer between December 8 and 11. In other words, this poll does not support the narrative I've argued against repeatedly, which holds that Clinton "needs" to do more retail campaigning here to compensate for her allegedly poor Iowa caucuses showing and failure to connect with Iowans. In my view, Clinton didn't do as badly here in 2008 as some people believe, nor is she as unpopular among rank and file Iowa Democrats as some bloggers imagine. She will not have any substantial Democratic competition here or anywhere else if she runs for president again.

Speaking of unfounded beliefs, backers of proposed casinos in Cedar Rapids and Jefferson (Greene County) talk a good game about the economic development their projects will bring. Economists Ernie Goss of Creighton University and Dave Swenson of Iowa State University threw cold water on those claims during this weekend's edition of Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" program. Excerpts are after the jump, including Goss' memorable comparison of some casinos to a "neutron bomb" that "destroys" surrounding local businesses such as restaurants.

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.  

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Weekend open thread: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 01:13:58 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread.

The Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner was an entertaining affair. I've posted some highlights after the jump. The "news" of the evening was Senator Chuck Schumer of New York endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, but for my money that wasn't the most interesting part of his speech.

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Weekend open thread: Mind-blowing edition (w/poll)

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Oct 06, 2013 at 10:50:00 AM CDT

The latest episode to divide Iowa Republicans is a warning from Republican Party of Iowa officials in response to planned traffic safety checkpoints in Polk County. After the jump I've posted more details on that story.

Having grown up during the 1980s, when "card-carrying member of the ACLU" was a term of abuse Republicans used against liberals, I'm still floored whenever Republicans actually care about potential encroachment on civil liberties by law enforcement officials.

That's far from the most mind-blowing political reality of our day, though. Just for fun, at the end of this post I put up a non-scientific poll for any Bleeding Heartland readers, but especially those "of a certain age." Think back 20 to 25 years and ask yourself, what reality of 2013 would be most shocking?

This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

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Adventures in poorly-worded poll questions

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 19:00:00 PM CDT

If you want to know whether likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers prefer former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, or someone new as the next presidential nominee, it's easy enough to ask that question.

Alternatively, if your goal is to show that the 2016 Iowa caucuses will be an exciting and unpredictable contest, you could play the game the Des Moines Register played in its latest Iowa poll.

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Iowa Democrats, Hillary Clinton doesn't "need" to do anything for you

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 17:40:00 PM CDT

In several recent conversations, I've been struck by how some Iowa Democrats believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to do things differently (hire better advisers, do more retail politics) if she wants to win the Iowa caucuses in 2016.

Here's the thing: Clinton doesn't need to prove herself to Iowa Democrats anymore.  

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Belated Harkin Steak Fry discussion thread

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 21:16:00 PM CDT

I didn't make it to the Harkin Steak Fry this year, but I'm sure lots of Bleeding Heartland readers were there. Feel free to share your thoughts and observations in this comment thread. Thanks to O.Kay Henderson who posted the audio at Radio Iowa, I finally had a chance to listen to the speeches by Ruth Harkin, Senator Tom Harkin, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and Vice President Joe Biden. Harkin was funny and passionate, as usual. Castro's message about protecting the American Dream wasn't particularly creative or memorable, but he delivered it well.

Listening to the vice president brought back a lot of Iowa caucus memories. From what I've observed, most Iowa Democrats love Joe Biden, even if he didn't do well on caucus night 2008. He stayed for a long time to talk with and pose for pictures with Iowans who came to the Warren County fairgrounds. I don't see him running in 2016 if Hillary Clinton takes another shot at the presidency, but if she doesn't run next time around, he would be tough to beat in the caucuses. Incidentally, to my ear Biden's praise of Secretary of State John Kerry (in the context of the recent crisis in Syria) did not come across as a slap at Clinton.  

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Howard Dean: Iowa a focus of Democracy for America's state legislative project

by: desmoinesdem

Wed Aug 21, 2013 at 11:06:00 AM CDT

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean is visiting Iowa today. As the keynote speaker at the Iowa Federation of Labor Convention in Altoona, he will highlight Democracy for America's work on state legislative races. DFA's "Purple to Blue" program "is a national, multi-year effort to win state House and Senate chambers across the country by making so-called 'purple' state legislative seats decisively Democratic." That is a hugely important political project, and I am pleased to learn that Iowa is one of the states Democracy for America will be targeting.

Some national news reporters will view Dean's travel schedule as a sign of renewed presidential aspirations, especially since he plans to give a health care policy speech in New Hampshire next month. Dean told the Des Moines Register today that he is supporting Hillary Clinton for president "at this point." Even if Clinton doesn't run for president again, I would be surprised to see Dean take another shot at the presidency. But admittedly, stranger things have happened.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

New Iowa caucus speculation thread

by: desmoinesdem

Mon Aug 19, 2013 at 21:07:00 PM CDT

How about a new thread on the Iowa caucuses? The off-year caucuses in 2014 could be extremely important on the Republican side. The U.S. Senate nomination could be decided at a statewide GOP convention, if no candidate wins at least 35 percent of the vote in the June primary. Furthermore, supporters of Governor Terry Branstad will need to focus on electing delegates at the precinct, county, and district levels, if rumors of an attempt to replace Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds on the ticket are accurate.

Democrats in the first Congressional district have extra incentive to turn out supporters for the 2014 caucuses as well, in case none of the five declared candidates in IA-01 wins at least 35 percent of the vote in the primary.

As for the next presidential-year caucuses, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was the featured speaker at the north Iowa Democrats' "Wing Ding" event in Clear Lake last Friday. She indicated that she is not interested in running for president and even joked that Minnesota supplies the country with vice presidents. If Hillary Clinton does not run for president again, Klobuchar is one of several Democratic senators who might join the race.

Former U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts visited the Iowa State Fair on Sunday with his wife, Iowa native Gail Huff. He wants to know if there is substantial support for his "brand of leadership and Republicanism." I can hardly imagine a worse fit than Brown for Iowa Republican caucus-goers.

Speaking of which, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey signed a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy for minors in his state. That intrusion on parental decision-making will be a deal-breaker for social conservatives.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the new darling of the Iowa Republican base, has released his birth certificate to show that he is eligible to run for president. He will also renounce his dual Canadian citizenship.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, my early pick to win the 2016 Iowa caucuses, previewed his future case against GOP members of Congress who may become rivals for the presidential nomination.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Irish poetry references coming to the Warren County Fairgrounds

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 22:02:00 PM CDT

In other words, Vice President Joe Biden will headline Tom Harkin's 36th Annual Steak Fry on September 15.

Biden didn't do well in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, because the 15 percent viability threshold (one of several things I dislike about the caucus system) made his supporters disappear in most precincts. But he had a devoted following among Iowa Democrats. During the 2007 campaign, he proved again and again that he knows how to charm a crowd, whether on the ped mall in Iowa City or at a house party in Emmetsburg. Ridiculously early polling indicates that if Hillary Clinton doesn't run for president, Biden would be the frontrunner going into the 2016 Iowa caucuses. He had quite a lot of support from Iowa elected officials before the 2008 caucuses and would have more if he runs in 2016 with two terms as vice president behind him.

A Biden speech is always entertaining, and the veep may never run for office again, so if you haven't seen him in person, get down to the Warren County Fairgrounds for the steak fry.

P.S.- Even if you've seen Biden speak a bunch of times, you may want to come to the steak fry to hear San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, another featured guest this year.

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Weekend open thread: American history edition

by: desmoinesdem

Sun Aug 11, 2013 at 10:10:00 AM CDT

What's on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread. Last night I watched a fascinating CNN program about John Hinckley's attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. I had no idea that Hinckley had been stalking Jimmy Carter during the fall of 1980. Twice he got within a few feet of the president at campaign events.

I also taped the CNN "Our Nixon" documentary first aired earlier this month, based on home movies shot by Nixon's aides. Looking forward to watching that soon.

Rob Christensen published an interesting essay about conservatism in the south: "Few states took the idea of minimalist government as far as North Carolina. All of the 1800s was a case study of the proposition that North Carolina works best with bare-bones government."

Speaking of small-government conservatives, here's an oldie but goodie by Reagan administration economist Bruce Bartlett on Reagan's forgotten record of raising taxes as California governor and president.

Moving to more recent history, I strongly disagree with what Patty Judge told the New York Times about Hillary Clinton needing a strong ground game if she comes back to Iowa. If Clinton runs for president, she will win the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic nomination without any question, whether or not she spends time on retail politics here. There won't be a repeat of 2007-2008, because she will have only token opposition during the primaries.

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Republicans suddenly see a downside to Reaganism and Citizens United

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Aug 06, 2013 at 10:06:00 AM CDT

Your unintentional comedy for the week: Republican National Committee and Republican Party of Iowa leaders freaking out over lengthy planned television broadcasts about Hillary Clinton. Republicans now threaten not to co-sponsor any presidential debates with CNN or NBC if those networks move forward with a documentary about the former first lady and secretary of state and a miniseries starring Diane Lane, respectively. The RNC is appalled by the "thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election," while the Iowa GOP is upset by the lack of "journalistic integrity."

What a pathetic display of weakness and hypocrisy.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, corporations can make and broadcast movies about political figures, and such activity is not considered "electioneering communication" that must be funded through a registered political action committee (PAC). The Citizens United case arose because of a (very negative) corporate movie about Hillary Clinton. I didn't agree with or welcome Citizens United, but Republicans were happy to treat corporations as people with unlimited free speech in the political sphere. Who are they to tell CNN and NBC not to make money by airing films that could draw a large potential audience?

I'm old enough to remember when prime-time television about controversial political topics had to be balanced with an opposing point of view. But under the GOP's sainted President Ronald Reagan, the Federal Communications Commission voted to "abolish its fairness doctrine on the ground that it unconstitutionally restricts the free-speech rights of broadcast journalists." Democrats didn't like it, but elections have consequences. As a result, CNN and NBC can air films about any political figure as frequently as they believe they can profit from doing so.

P.S. - RNC Chair Reince Priebus and Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker wouldn't be making this threat if they believed in GOP talking points about Benghazi or Hillary being "old news."  

Discuss :: (10 Comments)

More highlights from the latest Quinnipiac Iowa poll

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 07:10:00 AM CDT

Quinnipiac University released more results from its latest Iowa poll yesterday. I've posted some thoughts below regarding the responses on next year's U.S. Senate race, the 2016 presidential election, and marriage equality in Iowa.
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Iowa caucus: Democrats to see more of Brian Schweitzer?

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 07:10:00 AM CDT

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer announced over the weekend that he will not run for U.S. Senate next year. His decision dismayed Democrats, because Schweitzer is proven as a statewide candidate and had an excellent chance to win retiring Senator Max Baucus' seat. To all appearances, Iowa Democrats can expect to see more of the man who has long been considered a potential presidential candidate. Laura Zuckerman reported for Reuters yesterday,

"I'm not goofy enough to be in the House (of Representatives) or senile enough to be in the Senate, where things go to die. I don't think they get anything done back there, and I'm a doer," Schweitzer, 57, said.

Asked about the prospects for a White House campaign, he answered indirectly by referring to three states that have traditionally held the earliest primary elections or caucuses in the presidential race.

"I hold the people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina in high regard," he said. "If I were running for U.S. Senate, I'd be so goldarn busy I wouldn't be able to get out and visit with my friends in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina."

I don't think anyone can compete with Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016. If she passes, the Iowa caucuses will be wide open, and I can see Schweitzer appealing to a lot of Democrats here. Please share your thoughts about his potential in the comments. I'd particularly like to hear from some Bleeding Heartland readers who attended the Harkin Steak Fry Schweitzer headlined in 2008. I missed the event that year.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

PPP poll: if Hillary runs, she wins Iowa

by: desmoinesdem

Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 20:12:00 PM CDT

Hillary Clinton utterly dominates the Democratic field in Public Policy Polling's latest survey of Iowa. About 71 percent of Democratic respondents would support the former first lady and secretary of state she runs for president in 2016 (full results here). Under normal circumstances, I would say it's too early to poll an Iowa caucus campaign that won't be in full swing for another two years. But I think this poll is a good indicator that she will have nothing more than token opposition in the Democratic primaries if she runs for president again. It doesn't matter how much or how little she does "retail politics" in Iowa--she would win the caucuses easily. If Clinton doesn't run for whatever reason, Vice President Joe Biden would be the early front-runner. If he stays out, it will be a wide-open race.

On the Republican side, PPP found a real jumble. Asked whom respondents would most like to see as the GOP's next presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Rand Paul led with 18 percent of Iowa Republican respondents, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (16 percent), Representative Paul Ryan (15 percent), former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (14 percent), Senator Marco Rubio (11 percent), Senator Ted Cruz (10 percent), "someone else/not sure" (7 percent), former Senator Rick Santorum (6 percent), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (2 percent), and New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (1 percent).

I am surprised they didn't ask about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who's my absurdly early pick to win the Iowa caucuses. He is much more likely to run for president than some of the other names included in the survey. I am also surprised that so many respondents picked Christie and so few picked Santorum.

It's way too early for meaningful polling on the 2016 general election, but for now Hillary Clinton leads all potential GOP opponents in Iowa. Any comments about the next presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.

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Hillary Clinton as "old news"? Not likely

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 06:40:00 AM CDT

Ronald Reagan was 69 years old in 1980 and 73 years old in 1984. George H.W. Bush was 64 when first elected president and 68 when he ran for re-election. John McCain was 71 when nominated for president in 2008. Yet Republican politicians and strategists appear to believe that Hillary Clinton's age and long time on the national stage will be potent factors working against her possible candidacy in 2016. One experienced GOP campaign hand even believes Democrats will raise concerns about Clinton's age before Republicans will.

Dream on.  

There's More... :: (9 Comments, 249 words in story)
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