DES MOINES — A new poll found support for Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton among Iowa Democrats on the upswing as the state's residents prepare for their presidential caucuses Monday night.
Clinton was backed by 16% of the likely Democratic caucus-goers surveyed by the Des Moines Register. That is more than triple the support he received in the newspaper's last survey in December.
The poll, published Saturday, also found support for native-son Sen. Tom Harkin dropping to 54%--down 14 percentage points since December.
Clinton was second in the new poll, ahead of Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who dropped two points to 8%. Former California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. and former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas both had 5%.
"We're amazed," said Craig Smith, Clinton's deputy campaign manager. "If the result from Iowa is different from the conventional wisdom, it will have an impact on the race."
Despite the large margin Harkin maintained in the poll against his rivals, his Iowa race is more against high expectations than other candidates. His own campaign had said he would exceed Jimmy Carter's record score of 59% in 1980.
Except for Harkin, who launched a three-day campaign blitz in Iowa on Saturday, the other candidates have ignored the state because of his native-son candidacy.