— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) August 30, 2015
If she looks vulnerable it could open up the whole race
In the next five months we are going to hear an awful lot from Iowa which traditionally, with its caucuses, is the first state to decide on choosing a contender for the White House race.
Because this is not a normal primary where people just turn up and vote finding accurate poll samples has proved very challenging in the past. What happens in Iowa is that electors attending attend evening meetings on a cold January/February evening and only those who arrive on time and stay to the end can cast a vote.
The vast majority of people in the state simply don’t attend these events so standard polling techniques do not always work. But the poll in the states’s leading newspaper, the Des Moines Register, has over the years built up a formidable reputation in surveying both the Republican and Democratic party caucuses. In 2012 it identified the huge momentum behind Rick Santorum in the GOP race and he, nor Romney, was eventually declared the winner.
The early states to decide can have an enormous impact and there’s a massive focus on what’s going. The contenders are spending huge amounts of time and effort in them. It was Obama’s success in Iowa in 2008 that provided the springboard for his successful White House bid.
It had been thought that Hillary would take Iowa easily but would struggle against the 73 year old socialist, Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. That thinking has changed dramatically overnight with the Des Moines Register poll which shows him closing the gap.
My reading is that Sanders is doing well because he’s the most established non-Hillary contender.
Clinton’s price has been weakening but she’s still a strong odds-on favourite for the nomination. If a serious other contender emerges she could be in trouble.