Obama, Clinton tied in latest poll
US Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in a dead heat for the first electoral showdown in the 2008 US presidential race, according to a poll released today.
The polling firm Strategic Vision says Sens Obama and Clinton both received 29% among likely caucus participants.
The Iowa contest on 3 January will be the first time voters are asked to choose their candidate for the Democratic and Republican nominations for president.
The two nominees will be known by early next year after contests in a number of states and eventually face each other in the general election in November 2008.
With a struggling US economy and the war in Iraq, this historic open contest will be watched by the world.
In a related poll question, likely voters were asked what were they looking for most in a candidate: charisma, experience, or ideology?
Experience received the highest response with 33%, although Ideology and Charisma came in close at 29% and 27% respectively.
Sen Clinton has been largely running on her experience, but Mr Obama's recent surge has been attributed to a strategy called 'Electability Plus' in which he has been trying to express a larger vision of hope for the country and the world.
On the Republican side, darkhouse candidate Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas just like President Bill Clinton, is now to just two percentage points shy of frontrunner former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to today's poll.
Gov Huckabee's conservative Christian background has stood out against Mr Romney's Mormon faith and the pro-choice, pro-gay record of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Click here to read the complete poll