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What is Really Happening in Iowa?

A Commentary by Douglas Schoen

The race among Democrats is too close to call. Drawing any finer distinction will drive the analysts to distraction as there are so many polls being done it is impossible to divine a clear trend indicating which way the race is going.

Here is what's clear and obvious is that virtually all the recent polling puts the race within the margin of error in Iowa. This week's Washington Post poll apparently showed a surge for Barack Obama, but when they screened for certain caucus participants the 4% lead the poll showed the Illinois Senator enjoying became a 2% advantage.

Similarly, the Rasmussen polling which showed Hillary apparently 4% ahead actually projects a much closer contest when you get into the substance of the data. Among certain caucus voters, Senator Clinton's lead evaporated and she fell into a three way tie with Edwards and Obama. Finally an ARG research poll showed the race deadlocked, with Senator Clinton again holding a narrow 2% advantage over Obama.

Thus close examination of the high profile Iowa Caucuses data shows a surprising consistency of result with much less difference between the candidates than the media has suggested.

Douglas Schoen is a founding and former partner of Penn Schoen & Berland, and a Fox News Contributor.

Schoen was President Bill Clinton's research and strategic consultant during the 1996 reelection campaign.

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