The first ABC News / Washington Post poll of likely Iowa caucus voters finds it tight at the top on the Democratic side and Mitt Romney with a double-digit lead over his GOP rivals. The poll was conducted July 26-31 among 500 likely Democratic caucus voters (MoE = ± 4.5) and 402 likely Republican caucus voters (MoE = ± 5.0).
For the Democrats, Barack Obama (27 percent) had a 1-point lead—within the margin of error—over John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. This is the first outright lead for Obama in eighteen public opinion polls released by six sponsors since December 2006 (American Research Group, Des Moines Register, KCCI-TV / Research 2000, Mason-Dixon, Zogby). Obama was tied with Edwards at 22 percent in a December 2006 KCCI-TV / Research 2000 poll.
Bill Richardson continues to poll in fourth at 11 percent. Richardson has now polled in double digits in four polls since May 2007. Delaware Senator Joe Biden (2 percent), Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich (2 percent), Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd (1 percent), and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (0 percent) round out the Democratic field.
The new poll finds Romney with a 25 to 14 percent lead over Rudy Giuliani. Romney has lead in 5 of the 18 polls conducted since December 2006—all since May 2007. Romney has held a double-digit lead in three of them. Fred Thompson received 13 percent.
For just the second time, a public poll of Iowans measured John McCain’s support in single digits—just 8 percent. McCain was polling in the mid-20 percent range as late as May 2007. Three second-tier candidates received their highest numbers to date: former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (8 percent), Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo (5 percent), and Kasnsas Senator Sam Brownback (5 percent). Potential candidate Newt Gingrich and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson received 4 percent, followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul (2 percent) and California Congressman Duncan Hunter (1 percent).