Eight Days To Iowa, Campaigns Igniting – Video Added

It’s 8 days from today and now it’s a sprint. Plus, a new poll is showing Hillary retaking the Iowa lead from Obama.

Forst, the Democratic side of things from the New York Post:

December 26, 2007 — Merry Christmas, happy holidays, peace on Earth-now let’s get ready to rumble!

After a Christmas slowdown, today kicks off the most frantic week so far of the 2008 campaign season, marking the final countdown to the first votes in the country being cast, in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

Candidates of both parties will spend the next eight days canvassing a state where the polls are historically volatile in the week before voting starts.

“This is a great set of caucuses we’re about to have,” wrote Des Moines Register political reporter David Yepsen on his blog, calling the lead-up opinion polls “worthless.”

On the Democratic side, the polls show Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama locked in a dead heat in Iowa.

They appear to be locked in a dead heat but a new American Research Group poll shows Hillary taking a commanding lead again, story from CNN:

Clinton and Obama were neck-and-neck in last week’s American Research Group poll. But in the new survey, conducted December 20-23, she leads the Illinois senator by 15 percentage points, 34 to 19 percent. Obama is now in a statistical tie for second place with former North Carolina senator John Edwards, who has 20 percent of the vote.

It’s just one poll so far, we’ll have to see how others turn out in the next couple days.

Now, onto the Republican side, continuing the story from the New York Post:

On the Republican side, there are five candidates in contention, and the result of that nomination remains tethered to the Democrats’ process.

The season’s big surprise has been Mike Huckabee’s surge past Mitt Romney, whose strategy has relied on winning both Iowa and New Hampshire – and the rolling momentum that could follow.

Huckabee needs an Iowa win to survive. Although he’s faring poorly in New Hampshire, an Iowa victory could vault the Arkansas ex-governor into South Carolina’s primary. Without a win, he’ll have no money or momentum.

Romney, meanwhile, would be badly wounded by a loss. Anything short of a close second would be devastating to his strategy.

Sen. John McCain, who is imperiling Romney in New Hampshire right now, hasn’t had the resources to really compete in Iowa. Republicans there remain mistrustful of McCain for skipping the state during his 2000 presidential run.

Romney is still pretty much within the margin of error in most polls against Huckabee in Iowa. I’m not entirely counting on a Huckabee victory there at this point. Romney could still overtake him in the next 8 days very easily.

Update

Here’s an AP video report: