In the Arena

Iowa Polling

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…is famously inaccurate, as we know. But this latest ABC poll is interesting–in part because of Obama’s trajectory, but also because of this:

According to Democratic Party rules, a candidate must draw at least 15 percent at each caucus site for the votes to count; if that fails to happen, their supporters often throw their votes to a more viable contender. Combining the second-choice picks of candidates outside the top three, 34 percent would select Obama, 28 percent Edwards and only 15 percent Clinton.

Nutcase political junkies (like me) will remember that in 2004 John Edwards benefited enormously from being the second choice of Gephardt voters–they turned to Edwards in caucus after caucus where Gephardt didn’t reach the magic 15%. This time Richardson is probably the biggest cache of second-choice voters that will be up for grabs, followed by Biden. I’d guess the Richardson vote goes to Obama or, maybe, Edwards. The Biden vote is more likely to go to Clinton.

But these ornate caucus rites are probably what has the Clinton campaign a bit, shall we say, concerned.