Washington, Aug.16 : A University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll conducted the night of the Iowa Caucuses suggests the absence of Edwards would have helped Obama, and not Hillary Clinton. The survey administered to one randomly selected caucus participant in every precinct in Iowa on Jan. 3, 2008, included a question on second-choice preferences if a first-choice candidate was not viable.
Eighty-two percent of those who had Edwards as their first choice said if he was not viable, they would support another candidate. When asked which candidate they would support, 51 percent said Obama and only 32 percent picked Clinton.
Hawkeye Poll Director David Redlawsk, a political scientist in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said that "Had Edwards not been running, and if nothing else had changed, my data suggests that Obama would have ended up even further ahead of Clinton than he was."
Redlawsk worked with the state's Republican and Democratic parties to place a survey in each of Iowa's precincts on caucus night. Each caucus chair was directed to give the pencil-and-paper survey to one randomly selected person just before the caucus began.
Surveys were collected from 80.8 percent of Democratic precincts and 65.6 percent of Republican precincts -- a very high response rate.
Across both parties, there were 2,611 respondents from all 99 counties in Iowa, of which 1,441 were Democrats and 1,170 were Republicans. The margin of error for Democrats was +/- 2.2 percent; for Republicans +/- 2.9 percent. Results were unweighted.
Redlawsk noted that by the time Iowa's county conventions rolled around March 15, Edwards had dropped out.