This just in from Lynn Sweet in Des Moines and Abdon Pallasch following Barack Obama in Ames.....
DES MOINES, IA—A poll released Monday night put White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) solidly in the lead for the first time in Iowa, sending him into Thursday’s caucus with newfound momentum.
“It looks like it may be working,” Obama said at a New Year’s Eve rally at Iowa State University in Ames after he learned he led the Des Moines Register final Iowa Poll. LINK TO REGISTER STORY
“So we just might pull this this thing off, Iowa. Who would have thunk it.”
While the Democratic frontrunners—Obama, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) have been deadlocked for weeks with surveys showing the race in a statistical tie, the Register poll put Obama outside the margin of error.
The poll pegged Obama at 32 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers to 25 percent for Clinton and 24 percent for Edwards. Obama’s six point lead is the biggest the Register found in a year of polling and is the result of what the paper called a “dramatic influx” of first time caucus goers and political independents.
A key element of the Obama strategy was to get new voters engaged.
There were about a third who said they may change their mind still and six percent undecided. The poll is valuable to Obama at this stage because voters whose support is may be locked in if they want to go with a winner.