Four theories to explain Hillary's stunner.

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Jan. 9 2008 5:04 AM

Hillary Stuns--Four Theories

Bonus 5th Theory just added!

(Continued from Page 12)

Do I detect a tacit   media conspiracy to make the Iowa caucuses inconclusive, and even irrelevant? I'm for that! ... P.S.: It's like the moment in mafia stories when the cops just get tired of the mobsters they've been corruptly cooperating with for years and decide it's time to kill them. ... The Iowa caucuses--shot while trying to escape. ... **

Update: The conspiracy to dismiss Iowa will be harder to maintain if the final Des Moines Register poll--showing non-trivial Huckabee and Obama leads--proves an accurate predictor. But the poll was taken from last Thursday through last Sunday. Hasn't there been a lot of ongoing movement since then? Tom Bevan at RCP notes the trends  in the poll's two-day rolling averages--which show both Obama and Edwards moving up, Clinton moving down. ...

More: What did the DMR poll show in 2004? It "turned out to be quite predictive, notes Michael Crowley. It had Kerry leading and Edwards surging, which was the actual result. But in 2004 it came out only a day before the caucuses--not three days before. (Correction: The actual polling in 2004 was finished on the Friday before a Tuesday election--same interval as this year,  Mark Blumenthal notes. The 2004 poll was just released closer to the vote.)... Plus this year's poll seems to assume that an awful lot of independents are going to turn out and vote in the Dem caucus (especially for Obama). Ambinder: "Obama's internal polling does not show this high a proportion of independents choosing to caucus."  ...

Update: Blumenthal and his commenters  thoroughly masticate the issues surrounding the DMR poll, with bonus anti-Zogby sniping! ... Note also the anti-Burkle-like paranoia surrounding the ownership of polling outfit Opinion Research by Clinton supporter Vinod Gupta. As the NYT put it back in July:

[Some critical  investors] have also questioned Mr. Gupta's decision to pay a substantial premium last December to acquire the Opinion Research Corporation, which has done opinion surveys for CNN since April 2006. In January, CNN began using Opinion Research for its presidential polling, leading conservative bloggers to ask if Mr. Gupta, as a Clinton supporter, should have influence over CNN's polling.

Mr. Gupta called Opinion Research "a natural fit" for his business, adding that he had no involvement with its polling operations. A review of its poll results over the last six months found them mostly in line with other campaign surveys. [E.A.]

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Not any more! Opinion Research's poll is the only one of the three recent polls to show Clinton winning. The third poll, from Insider Advantage, shows Edwards winning handily once the second choices of the "non-viable" candidates are counted. Insider Advantage polled Friday and Saturday--ending a day earlier than DMR. But I don't know why that would work against Edwards. ...

**--It's possible that the Hillary camp is spinning reporters in the Iowa-decides-nothing direction--always a possibility when Adam Nagourney is involved! But at this point, given the uncertainy, all the Democratic candidates would probably happily contract for an inconclusive outcome that would let hem all go on to New Hampshire. Maybe they're all spinning the anti-Iowa story--a happy confluence of short-term individual and long-term national interest. ... 6:58 P.M. link

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Quien es mas ... ? Edsall says Edwards' new tough-guy posing is stealing male caucusers away from Obama. ... P.S.: Hey, Edwards is looking more macho  than we'd thought! ...  3:24 P.M. link

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Press pros on the ground (excitable Joe Klein,, Marc Cooper, the First Read crew) are convinced Huckabee's press conference today--in which he announced he was pulling a negative campaign spot and then showed it to the press anyway--was so disastrous as to be Dean-screamish. Like Jonathan Martin, I'm not so sure. Huckabee's transparently trying to have it both ways--but it's not clear why he won't have it both ways. Transparently cynical  arrangements seem to be working well this year! At least with Iowans.... P.S.: This seems like the MSM jumping in in order to discover for itself that Huckabee is imploding after he has already been taken down by Romney's attack spots. ...

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