With less than three weeks until the Iowa Caucuses, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee continue to build on their rising support over the past few weeks, according to two statewide polls conducted this week.

On the Democratic side, Obama leads Hillary Clinton and John Edwards by nine points each in the new Research 2000 survey, and is tied with Clinton in a new Hotline poll.

Research 2000 (December 10-13, 2007; 500 LV)
Obama = 33%
Edwards = 24%
Clinton = 24%
Richardson = 9%
Biden = 3%
Dodd = 1%
Kucinich = 1%
Gravel = 0%
No opinion = 5%

Hotline (December 7-12, 2007; 569 LV)
Obama = 27%
Clinton = 27%
Edwards = 22%
Richardson = 8%
Biden = 5%
Dodd = 1%
Kucinich = 1%
Gravel = 0%
No opinion = 10%

Obama’s momentum occurs during a week which saw many events work in his favor: Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement in Des Moines, a televised Democratic debate in which Obama delivered the best line (at Clinton’s expense), and a media frenzy critical of the Clinton campaign for a statement released by a (now former) campaign co-chair who raised the specter of Obama’s involvement with drugs as a youth.

Edwards, meanwhile, is poised and waiting to leapfrog both Obama and Clinton—hoping to benefit from this tête-à-tête among the frontrunners, adopting a more genial tone and remaining focused on the issues in a state which is known to have a distaste for negative campaigning.

On the Republican side, Huckabee capped off a second week in which he has come out on top in every public poll (Mason-Dixon, Newsweek, Rasmussen, Hotline, Research 2000). There appears to be two races going on: Huckabee and Mitt Romney for first and Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Ron Paul for third.

Research 2000 (December 10-13, 2007; 500 LV)
Huckabee = 31%
Romney = 22%
Giuliani = 9%
Thompson = 9%
McCain = 7%
Paul = 7%
Tancredo = 2%
Hunter = 1%
No opinion = 12%

Hotline (December 7-12, 2007; 446 LV)

Huckabee = 36%
Romney = 23%
Giuliani = 12%
Thompson = 8%
McCain = 5%
Paul = 5%
Tancredo = 1%
Hunter = 0%
No opinion = 10%

Huckabee’s strong numbers continue to come largely at the expense of the Thompson-McCain-Giuliani block. Romney’s support has remained between 20 percent and 31 percent in 16 of 17 public polls conducted since November. This indicates a good base of support so that if Huckabee should misstep, the former Governor of Massachusetts should be able to carry the Hawkeye State on the road to New Hampshire (where Romney’ support has been measured in double-digits in 17 of 19 polls conducted since November).