Vilsack slipping in Iowa?

Well, ARG has a new Iowa (and New Hampshire) poll out on the 2008 presidential candidates. Remember that their December poll was not consistent with other polls on the Democratic side, presumably because of a different definition of “likely caucus goer.” With the ARG criteria, the Iowa likely caucus goers had Clinton on top in December, like the likely primary voters in other states and nationally, while other pollsters had Edwards on top for likely Iowa caucus goers. With that caveat, it is interesting to see the trends after Obama’s announcement and Clinton’s visit to Iowa. There may be further movement with Obama’s visit to Iowa next week.

ARG, phone interviews of 600 likely Iowa caucus goers, Jan 29 – Feb 1, 07 (Dec. 06), +/- 4%

Clinton 35 (31)

Edwards 18 (20)

Obama  14 (10)

Vilsack 12 (17)

Biden, Clark, and Kucinich had 2% each, and Richardson and Dodd had 1%. 13% were undecided.

There is a gender bias, with 39% of the Iowa women surveyed supporting Clinton, and 30% of the men surveyed supporting Clinton. If only previous caucus goers were counted, Clinton had 29% and Edwards had 25%.

Not a huge change from December, but Clinton and Obama did move up some, and Edwards and Vilsack dropped some. For all of his efforts, Vilsack is going in the wrong direction in his home state. It isn’t just slow recognition of the their governor as presidential material, because Richardson comes out on top with 28% among 2008 candidates in New Mexico.

Identifying likely caucus goers at this stage is a crap shoot, but the trends are interesting.

Does Vilsack have a chance of winning the Iowa caucuses?

About the Author(s)


  • They polled no-party

    I can’t figure out why they polled Iowans who were registered as “No Party” because to participate in the caucuses you have to be registered with one party or the other.  That, and the fact that they’re still polling ‘likely’ caucusgoers bothers me.

    • Likely caucus goers, including non-party

      From the December 2006 poll it seemed their criteria for “likely caucus goer” was off, or at least inconsistent with other polls. That is why I think the ARG data may be only accurate for looking at trends. That may be a rationalization on my part, because I really do not want Clinton to be out in front.

      ARG apparently first asked if they intended to attend the Democratic or Republican caucuses, and they included the polled person even if they were non-party as long as they said they were going to one or the other caucuses. This would have to assume that they would switch party registration before (or at) the caucus. Of course, many of those saying they will attend the caucus won’t.

      If you limited the sample to those who had attended an earlier caucus, then Clinton’s lead over Edwards was much smaller.

      What I found most interesting is that if you just stick to comparing the December 2006 results with the most recent poll, the biggest change was the 5 point slip that Vilsack had. That can’t be the direction that Governor Vilsack wanted.

      • I think this poll is all wrong

        I seriously doubt Clinton is ahead in Iowa. I don’t even believe she’s in second place. The likely voter screen is probably all wrong.

        So far ARG has put Clinton in the lead here twice, and no other polling firm has even come close to that. I simply don’t believe it.

        I predict she finishes no better than fourth in Iowa.

  • to answer your question

    No, Vilsack does not have a chance to win the Iowa caucuses. I think Edwards is in a very strong position.

    I suspect Vilsack will finish second or third here. He may end up being a second choice for some people, whereas someone Clinton is not going to be anyone’s second choice (if she’s not your first choice, she’s probably your last choice).

    • Obama's visit

      It would be nice to have another polling firm size up the Iowa caucus situation. I suspect Clinton and Obama have made some gains on Edwards. Also, Obama’s visit to Iowa next Sunday could change some minds.

      Edwards does have a good carry-over crowd from 2004, and I would see him as the favorite at this point. But a lot could change in 11 months.

      I just don’t see where Vilsack is going to make his gains. I suspect that Vilsack’s slip in the ARG polls is real, even if the specific numbers are suspect.

      • Edwards hasn't been here much lately

        but that will change in the summer and fall.

        I can’t see any candidate coming close to his appeal in the smaller cities and towns.

        Having Ed Fallon on board is going to help him in the major cities.

        Edwards’ support seems to be spread pretty evenly across the state, which is what you need to rack up lots of delegates. I imagine that Vilsack’s is too, although he may be skating pretty close to the viability level in a lot of precincts. I suspect that Obama and Clinton will have pockets of deep support, but also will be non-viable in many precincts.

  • ARG

    ARG is bullshit don’t pay any attention to them.

    • Zogby poll

      The Zogby poll that came out last week showed the same trend. The absolute numbers may be off because of their screen (but who is to say whose screen is accurate). But the December to January 5 pt slip for Vilsack in the ARG poll was reflected in the slip in the Zogby poll.

      So, maybe you could say the ARG and Zogby polls are both bullshit, or maybe you could admit that Vilsack is slipping in Iowa.

      The Fitzgerald and Miller endorsements for Obama are also a likely indicator of Vilsack’s sagging campaign. They would not have bailed on Vilsack if they thought Vilsack had a chance.

      Then there is the lackluster fundraising, . . . .

      • Zogby

        For the most part, Zogby’s polling tactics are pretty horrible as well.  Somewhere on the Mystery Pollster blog (now–I don’t have the time to search for the post) there is a long and articulate post about how Zogby and Co. fucked up the sample or a question or something and went with it anyway, still trying to call things reliable.  That just cuts at credibility.  Not to mention that, for the most part, their interactive polling wasn’t very predictive either.  I’m not saying that I’ll completely dismiss their polls, because I think they can help establish floors of support to some degree, but for the most part I don’t find them all that reliable.  In terms of pollsters that have a decent track record in Iowa, at least in terms of decent methodology, I’m a fan of the Iowa Poll by the Register and the Research 2000 polls that KCCI does.