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New Des Moines Register Poll: Obama Widens Lead Over Clinton, Edwards

The Edwards campaign is arguing that the poll is exaggerating the likely participation of first-timers, which may very well be true.
 
 
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It seemed as if the political/media world had finally settled on a narrative for the Iowa caucuses -- Hillary Clinton had a reasonably solid lead, John Edwards had the big mo and was in position to pull the upset, and Mike Huckabee was sinking fast.

Of course, of all of that may still be true, but the highly-anticipated poll from the Des Moines Register doesn't fit the narrative at all. Here's how the Dems stacked up in the poll, released last night:

* Obama 32% (up from 28% in early December) * Clinton 25% (unchanged)
* Edwards 24% (up from 23%)
* Richardson 6% (down from 9%)
* Biden 4% (down from 6%)

And the Republicans:

* Huckabee 32% (up from 29% in early December) * Romney 24% (down from 26%)
* McCain 13% (up from 7%)
* Thompson 9% (up from 5%)
* Paul 9% (up from 7%)
* Giuliani 5% (down from 13%)

If accurate, these results are obviously extremely good news for the Obama campaign, whose seven-point lead is larger than any Democrat has enjoyed in any DMR poll this year.

There's no shortage of analysis about What It All Means (if anything), but here are a few points to consider:

* Roughly a third of likely caucusgoers say they could be persuaded to choose someone else before Thursday evening.

* The DMR poll does not reflect second-choices, which may make quite a difference, given the number of candidates who may not make the 15% threshold in various parts of the state.

Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.

 
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