The first public measure of where the candidates stand will come Saturday, when the Des Moines Register releases its first Iowa Poll of the year.
The Register contracts with Selzer & Co., a highly-regarded Des Moines-based polling firm that has delivered surprisingly accurate predictions of where the Caucus stands in recent years.
In 2007, just days before the January 3 caucuses, the Register pegged then-Sen. Barack Obama as the leader by seven points, based on projections of record-breaking turnout. When Caucus night rolled around, Obama won by eight points, amid record-breaking turnout (Pollster Ann Selzer also nailed the GOP race, predicting former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee would win by six; he won by nine).
That just makes us wonder: Did former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's team know the poll was in the field? Launching a television ad to influence the poll would be a smart move.