Monday, January 14, 2008

For what it's worth...

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For what it's worth -- and we're talking opinion polls here -- the Democratic race in Nevada, which is set to hold its caucuses on Saturday -- is tight. A new Reno Gazette-Journal poll has Obama at 32, Clinton at 30, and, interestingly, Edwards (running well back in third nationally) at 27. Edwards seems to have little chance at the nomination, but he is still doing well in select states.

The same poll has McCain at 22, Giuliani at 18, Huckabee at 16, Romney at 15, and Thompson at 11. The Las Vegas Sun, which contends (rightly) that "Nevada's role in the Republican race for the White House has been marginalized," is reporting that the caucuses aren't arousing much interest either from Republicans in the state or from the candidates themselves. Romney and Paul are campaigning aggressively, but the others don't have much of a presence. The Democrats, meanwhile, are "pouring money and out-of-state campaign workers into" the state.

In South Carolina, as Ed Morrissey is reporting, a Rasmussen poll indicates that McCain continues to lead at 28. Huckabee is at 19, Romney is at 17, and Thompson is at 16. Giuliani is down with Paul at 5. Thompson has actually gained support, picking up four points in recent days. This may have come at the expense of Huckabee, who has lost five points. In this case, Thompson's gain is also McCain's, who may not face much of a challenge from Huckabee. Thompson's strong performance in the recent GOP debate may be the reason for this change: "Thompson saved almost all of his ammunition for Mike Huckabee in that debate, but avoided criticizing his friend and mentor, McCain."

On the Democratic side, Obama, at 38, continues to lead Clinton, at 33. Edwards is back in third with 17. Needless to say, an Obama victory would do much to regain the momentum he lost to Clinton in New Hampshire. A poor showing by Edwards, along with a loss in Nevada, could mean a withdrawal from the race.

The Democratic race could come down to California. According to The Politico, Clinton currently leads Obama 47 to 31 in that potentially key state, with Edwards well back at just 10. McCain leads the Republican race 20 to 16 over Romney, with Giuliani at 14 and Huckabee at 13.

For some national numbers, including the latest trends, see USA Today. The key developments: On the Democratic side, Clinton has acquired a significant lead over Obama, with Edwards falling back. On the Republican side, McCain has passed both Huckabee and Giuliani and now holds a similarly significant lead. For all his money and ground campaigns, Romney is well back in fourth, with Thompson in fifth. Paul may have some enthusiastic supporters, but his, overall, his national support is negligible.

We'll have more numbers as they come in. For what they're worth. Which may not be much.

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