The final pre-caucus poll by the Des Moines Register suggests that Barack Obama has pulled ahead in the race, especially amongst independents and undecided voters, with John Edwards coming up in the polls, and strongly contesting Hillary Clinton for second place.
Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn -- the guy who made a point of referring to Obama's teenage drug use, even after Hillary's campaign promised to stop bringing it up -- tried to spin this bad news in a pretty negative way.
"The Des Moines Register poll adopts an unprecedented new turnout model for the caucuses, and its new poll is out of sync with the other polling done in the race. . . voters should understand this is a very close race, and that their participation on caucus night could make all of the difference."
Indeed. Mark Penn appears to be annoyed that The Register is predicting that Iowans feel this is a very important election, and that voters are more motivated to vote in this election. He's frustrated that the Register aren't ignoring the opinions of a higher percentage of Iowans, by writing them off as not being "likely voters".
Of course, as a relatively young person, the chances are good that you are one of those unlikely voters who defy traditional polling results, and who could really make a difference in this election.
Clinton's campaign chief is counting on independent-minded Iowans -- young voters, first-time voters, disillusioned voters, voters tired of an unending, unaccountable conflict in Iraq, voters tired of sacrificing their rights and freedoms, voters tired of politics as usual -- *NOT* to vote, because he believes that as long as enough people *DON"T* show up to caucus, Hillary Clinton can win.
He's right about one thing though... this is a close race, and your participation on caucus night could make all the difference. There are well over 2000 LiveJournal users in Iowa, most of whom are of voting age. This is equal to about 2% of the total number of Iowans that voted in the 2004 Iowa Caucus. What we do, both individually and as a group, makes a difference.
So please, take part in the Iowa caucus... and be sure to tell your friends to vote too!