The headline from the new CBS News/New York Times poll
is certainly Mike Huckabee's stunning rise to the top of the GOP field nationally (he trails Rudy Giuliani by a statistically insignificant one point), and the tightening of the Democratic race (Hillary Clinton's lead over Barack Obama has shrunk from 28 points to 17). But there are plenty of interesting tidbits inside the numbers:
- Despite the fact that the Iowa caucuses are just 24 days away, voters aren't sold on their choices yet. Fifty six percent of Democrats in the poll who are said they are supporting Clinton said they could change their minds. The number was fifty-five percent of Obama supporters. And seventy-six of Republicans who currently support a candidate said it's too early to say they have made up their minds and could change.
- For all the hype and attention she has received, the poll indicates that Oprah Winfrey may not be having much of an impact on moving voters. Just one percent of Democrats said Winfrey's endorsement of Obama would make it more likely to vote for him while 14 percent said it would make it less likely they would support his candidacy and 80 percent said it would make no difference. By contrast, 44 percent said Bill Clinton's involvement with his wife's campaign would make it more likely for the them to support her, 7 percent said less and 46 percent said it would make no difference.
- In a historic election featuring lots of potential "firsts," Republicans indicated that they think there is more acceptance for a Mormon candidate (Romney) than there was just six months ago. Asked if they thought most people they know would vote for a Mormon for president, 52 percent of Republicans said yes, compared to 36 percent last June. Among Democrats, 59 percent said they thought most people they know would vote for a woman candidate and 63 percent answered affirmatively to that question regarding a black candidate.
- Voters are paying more attention to the campaign at this point in the cycle than at any time since CBS News began asking the question in 1987. Among all registered voters, 76 percent said they are paying a lot or some attention to the campaign, compared to just 61 percent at this point in the 2004 presidential campaign.
- In a worrying sign for Giuliani, 53 percent of Republicans said they would not vote for a candidate who does not share their views on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, up from 46 percent who said so a month ago. Just 42 percent said they would vote for a candidate they disagreed with on those issues.
- As for the general election, Democrats appear to have more interest. Forty-five percent say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year, while just 29 percent of Republicans said the same. And among all registered voters, 48 percent said they would probably vote for the Democratic candidate while 31 said they would vote for the Republican presidential candidate.
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