A new poll by ABCNews/Washington Post released today shows that Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois has slipped ahead of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York among Iowa Democrats.
The state's Democrats plan to hold their caucuses Jan. 3, a neighborhood style process that influences voting among presidential convention delegates next summer. Iowa is the nation's first Democratic showdown, and the survey suggests that Clinton's nomination is not inevitable.
Among those who say they are "absolutely certain" to attend one of the caucues, Obama leads Clinton 28 percent to 26 percent, a margin well within the sampling error of plus or minus 5 percent.
However, among all Democrats polled, Obama led Clinton 30 percent to 26 percent, with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina polling 22 percent. In July, Clinton was ahead of Obama by single digits among all Democrats surveyed.
The survey of 500 likely caucus attendees was done Nov. 14 through 18, which means it was done before and after the Democrats' forum in Las Vegas, where media experts said Clinton easily outperformed Obama and Edwards.
In this latest sampling, respondents said that candidates with new ideas mattered more than those with experience and forcefulness. Where Clinton leads Obama nationally among women, Iowa women favored Obama narrowly over Clinton, 32 to 31 percent.
When asked "who best understands people like you," 33 percent said Obama, while 24 percent responded that Clinton does. Obama led Clinton 30 to 18 percent among those who were asked who is "honest and trustworthy."