Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007-- Democratic 2008 hopeful Barack Obama has edged ahead of national front-runner Hillary Clinton in the latest poll in the key state of Iowa, which kicks off the party nominating process on January 3.
In the ABC News/Washington Post poll released late Monday, Obama led on 30 percent among Democrats likely to attend the caucus nominating contest in the midwestern state.
Former First Lady Clinton was second on 26 percent, ahead of former Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards on 22 percent.
The poll also suggested that most likely Democratic voters in Iowa -- 55 percent -- were more interested in a "new direction and ideas" than in strength and experience (33 percent) as qualities for a presidential candidate.
Obama has been billing himself as a candidate of change who is ready to lift US politics clear of the divisions and partisanship of the last two decades.
Clinton meanwhile has been stressing she would be ready to lead the United States from her first day in office, is best equipped to push for change, and has questioned the first term Illinois senator's experience.
The poll however showed that Democrats in Iowa still saw Clinton as the most electable candidate in the field -- 39 percent said she had the best chance against a Republican in November 2008, compared to 25 percent for Obama.
Thirty-eight percent said she has the best experience, compared to 11 percent for Obama.
The poll was conducted by telephone between November 14 and 18, so it was not clear if it fully reflected the impact of a Democratic presidential debate on November 15, which was awarded by media pundits to Clinton.
Most recent polls of the Democratic race in Iowa show the race in a near statistical tie, as the campaign heats up with only a few weeks to go.