No wonder Hillary Clinton is redoubling her efforts in Iowa.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers has Barack Obama leading the primary field with 30 percent, compared with Clinton at 26 percent and John Edwards at 22 percent. Obama's lead doesn't amount to much given that it's still within the poll's margin of error. But the horse race numbers, along with the results of other questions asked in the poll, has his campaigin smiling. It's the first time in weeks that Obama has held such a lead. (See the full results and Post story here.)
Clinton is still seen as the more experienced Democrat, but caucus-goers surveyed in the poll say they are more interested in change: Fifty-five percent said a "new direction and new ideas" was their top priority, compared with 33 percent who said "strength and experience." Obama is also increasingly the second choice of Iowa voters, the Post reports. That's significant because any candidate who doesn't win 15 percent at a caucus is deemed inviable, and his or her supporters must choose another candidate or go home.
Iowa, which votes Jan. 3, is the only early caucus or primary state where Clinton has not held a significant lead in the polls, and she is stepping up her campaign there to try to fend off strong challenges from Obama, who has a massive Hawkeye State organization, and Edwards, who did well in the state in 2004. On the Democratic side, Iowa looks more and more like it will have an outsized voice in picking the nominee.