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Candidates Battle for Iowa Support as Caucuses Approach

Candidates launched their final push to get out the vote in Iowa's Thursday caucuses, as two new polls showed support for candidates fluctuating. Judy Woodruff gives an update on the scene in Iowa, and a pollster explains the reliability and accuracy of pre-election polling.

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    There are just two days to go before the first votes are cast in the 2008 presidential primaries. Judy Woodruff is in Iowa for Thursday night's caucus and joins us now.

    And, Judy, a lot of organizations are polling right now in Iowa. What are they saying, if we look for the broad overview, and have they been pretty consistent?


    Well, hi, Ray. As you know, as we always make this caveat, polling notoriously difficult in a caucus system, because it's not just what your preference is, it's who actually gets to the caucus, casts the ballot. It doesn't matter what you think if you don't show up.

    Having said that, there have been eight public polls done among Democratic caucus attendees since Christmas Day, and they all show the three bunched up in the lead, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

    Four of them show Clinton with a lead of anywhere from 1 to 7 points. One of them shows Edwards with a small lead. One actually shows a tie among the three of them, and two of them show Barack Obama in the lead, including a brand-new poll out just last night, the Iowa poll done for the Des Moines Register.