For the first time, Hillary Clinton is leading Democratic candidates in Iowa, according to a Des Moines Register poll. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney leads, with newcomer Fred Thompson in second.
As Kathie Obradovich, the paper's political editor, tells NPR's Michele Norris, Clinton has spent a lot of time — and a lot of money — in the state in an attempt to connect with voters. Still, Clinton had been locked in a three-way-tie with Sens. John Edwards and Barack Obama for months.
Now Clinton has a narrow lead, with 29 percent of likely caucus-goers supporting her, compared to 23 percent for Edwards and 22 percent for Obama. And of those responding to the poll, half of the voters said they could change their minds before the caucus.
In the Republican field, Thompson leapfrogged to the second spot despite not spending much time in Iowa.
Voters — and some Register columnists — are also showing signs of warming up to a candidate who is not considered to be one of the frontrunners: Mike Huckabee.
As Obradovich said, Huckabee did well in an August straw poll, placing second. The former Arkansas governor "tends to satisfy a lot of the conservative credentials that social conservatives in Iowa are looking for," Obradovich said.