Thursday, December 14, 2006

Don't Be Fooled by Early Polls

There's a great deal of new presidential polling data coming out every day and most of it places Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama and Rudy Giuliani at the top. In Iowa, where it seems John Edwards has been since John Kerry conceded in 2004, a recent poll had Edwards leading Clinton 36 percent to 16 percent.

It is far too early for polling to be considered more than a battle for name recognition. In December, 2002, an Iowa poll had Dick Gephardt with 26 percent and Howard Dean at 1 percent. Iowans had no idea who Dean was but by the time the caucuses rolled around, Gephardt was on his way home in the losing column, again.

The frontrunners have nowhere to go but down. The likes of Evan Bayh and Tom Vilsack on the Democratic side and Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee on the Republican side, who are all pretty much polling in single digits, have yet to be heard from. They will be eventually and the polls you see today will look eerily like those in 2002 after the results come in: very much off the mark.

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