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Monday, December 31, 2007 - 2:45pm

Uncertainty Rules in Iowa

With only three days left until the Iowa caucuses, not even the political pundits know who is going to win in either election.  On the Republican side, Mitt Romney has closed the gap on Mike Huckabee in what looks to be a two-way race.  John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are locked in a three way race for the Democratic nod.  In addition, there is an X-factor in Iowa by the name of Ron Paul.


While Romney and Huckleberry are expected to finish 1-2, the race is on for third place and Congressman Paul could very well pull it out.  He is currently tied for fifth with Rudy Giuliani, but is within striking distance of third.  His backers are extremely passionate and no other Republican candidate can say that.  If some voters decide to stay home on Thursday because of the weather or to watch the Kansas/Virginia Tech football game, Ron Paul's supporters won't be among them.


It's a complete toss-up for the Democrats.  John Edwards had been lagging in third place all year, but has recently surged to a slim lead in the latest Mason-Dixon poll.  Barack Obama's poll numbers are slipping just a tad, but he also enjoys a strong get-out-the-vote infrastructure.  Hillary holds a narrow lead in most polls, but she lags a distant third in voters' second choice. 


In a caucus, a candidate must achieve at least 15% to be viable.  If a candidate does not attain 15%, they must cast their vote for someone who has.  This means that people backing Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joseph Biden, and Dennis Kucinich may need to vote for one of the top three.  Combining the undecideds still remaining, it amounts to nearly 20% of the electorate.  This factor could bump Hillary from the top spot and push her down to second or even third place.


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