Two new polls have been released overnight that tell different stories of the GOP race in Iowa. First, the Des Moines Register released their poll that gave Huckabee a 6 point lead over Mitt:
Mike Huckabee: 32
Mitt Romney: 26
John McCain: 13
Ron Paul: 9
Fred Thompson: 9
Rudy Giuliani: 5
Whereas, this morning CNN/OpinionResearch released its latest Iowa poll (to be the first of the year!):
Mitt Romney: 31
Mike Huckabee: 28
John McCain: 10
Ron Paul: 8
Rudy Giuliani: 8
OK, so these polls just tell us what we already knew, that Iowa is unpredictable right now. I suppose the race is neck and neck; it seems to me that Hucks 6 point lead in the DMR poll is a bit inflated. Also, both polls fail to take into account Huckabee’s monumental and idiotic ad stunt yesterday. That could (and should) be his ‘Dean’ moment of the race, even journalists at the event were laughing at him. If that does not bury him in Iowa, nothing will. Ultimately, I think it is all but assured that Mitt will win Iowa, and I would not be surprised if it were a 10-15 point win. (I will publish my Iowa predictions Thursday morning).
Perhaps just as interesting is the race for 3rd. Thompson and McCain appear to be the two best positioned for third place. However, one candidate stands far and away with better organization and dedicated, even passionate, support and that is Ron Paul. In each poll he is within the margin of error. Like Mitt, I think Ron can be assured about 2-3 more points because his supporters are the most dedicated and most likely to attend caucuses of the 2nd tier Iowa candidates. Do not be one bit surprised if Paul finished 3rd, which would be a coup for him.
Mitt Romney has got to be praying that John McCain finishes 4th or worse in Iowa, regardless of whether he wins IA or not. That prevent the media from propping up McCain’s campaign and should slow his ascent in NH. The best possible scenario for Mitt would be a solid win and Ron Paul finishing 3rd, even Fred in 3rd would be fine.
For Huckabee, even if he does win Iowa, he is a one-state-wonder. He just has too many gaffes and issues. He may pull out South Carolina due to and Iowa win, but I wouldn’t count on it. Even then it would not be enough in the end.
Finally, notice Rudy Giuliani; tied for 5th in one and in 6th in the other. His supporters will say that he threw the towel in in Iowa before Ames so such a finish should not be unexpected. However there are holes all over that. A candidate whom the media claims to be the real front runner should automatically have at least 15% support in the state. John McCain and Fred Thompson also both skipped Ames and, especially McCain, have done little work in Iowa, just like Giuliani. Yet at least they are viable candidate to finish third. Giuliani’s abysmal campaign strategy is ridiculous and it shows how unlikely he is to get the GOP nod. How does one that is crowned the most likely to win the nomination finish in 6th and 5th in the first two states? We may very well see that this year. What a joke.
All in all, however, this is the most wide open GOP race ever. It is near impossible to predict what will happen, although things are slowly starting to work themselves out. It will be fun to watch.
UPDATE: Did the AP read my story? I was just browsing around and Drudge has a headline very similar to mine and it linked to an AP story on Breitbart titled, “2 Polls, 2 Different Results” , posted at noon, Jan.1. They used the same polls I used. I just want it to be noted that mine was written first, so I don’t want to hear anything like I am copying stories.