Iowa Democratic Race Too Close to Call, Or Is It?

Iowa for the Democrats has been absurd with the polls changing every other day. First, Hillary had a reasonable lead, then Obama, now there’s a poll showing Edwards in the lead:

In an InsiderAdvantage poll in Iowa, Edwards leads among (977) likely voters 30-26-24 over Clinton and Obama. Edwards is also the clear second choice winner, 42-29-28 over Clinton and Obama. This is the first poll to show Edwards solely in the lead in Iowa since July.

Among highly likely caucus goers (of which there are 633), though, the three are deadlocked: Obama 27, Edwards 26, Clinton 24. Edwards again wins second choice, 42-31-27 over Clinton and Obama. The poll was conducted Dec. 16-17 and has a margin of error of 3% for the likely voters section and 4% for the highly likely voters section.

So how to possibly sort this all out.

If you break down the RCP Iowa poll averages, it’s set at Obama, Clinton, Edwards.

Here are the numbers:

Obama – 29.8%
Clinton – 26.3
Edwards – 23.0

Those are poll averages over the past week or so.

At this point, it appears as Obama would take Iowa. However, it’s so close on the Democratic side that the notion of the “second choice” comes into play. Once Edwards gets knocked out in the caucusing, where will his supporters go? In my opinion, most of them will head to Obama which will easily put him over the top in Iowa.

I think it’s going to be Obama in Iowa, and that is about where his momentum is going to stop. Hillary leads him in every other state except South Carolina, where they are both tied at this point, there could be some movement there depending on who takes Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m thinking that Clinton will end up taking New Hampshire even though her numbers there have dropped.

Predictions are fun, if only for the fact that in a couple weeks I’ll be prove astoundingly correct, or embarrassingly wrong.