Other polls in Iowa have used registered voter lists rather than random-sample telephone calls; the approach can be more efficient in reaching people, but it also misses the substantial number of registered voters for whom there's no working phone number on the list. Some other Iowa polls also have a much higher number of "undecided" voters, a function of polling technique. The approach in ABC/Post polls is informed by the construct of the question -- whom people would support "if the caucus were being held today."
A fitting close to a study of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa is to hear their own voices. Following are some of the questions they said they'd ask the candidates in a debate -- questions that show the range of concerns to Iowans, and to all Americans, in the upcoming election.
"How would they get our boys back home quickly?"
"Tell me why my son has to go to Iraq to fight and why his buddies are all dead?"
"If you get us out of Iraq and al Qaeda takes over, what will you do?"
"How will you defend the United States if you are going to withdraw the troops?"
"Can you tell how you would fund the cost of national health care?"
"When are you going to run all the illegal aliens back over the border?"
"What has happened to Osama? Everything is going to Iraq and Iraq had nothing to do with the World Trade Center."
"What are your thoughts on the legalization of gay marriage?"
"When are you going to start to bring jobs back to our country?"
"How will you straighten out the budget deficit?"
"Are you going to clean up the corruption in Washington?"
"Why haven't we impeached Bush?"
"What are you going to do to help the struggling middle class and the poor?"
"I would ask about big companies taking over the farms. What would you do about that?"
"What is their plan to increase the graduation rate in inner-city schools?"
"What are you going to do about long-term Social Security?"
"What is the deal with global climate change?"
"If you're president, would you quit promoting ethanol?"
"How are you going to change the country?"
"How do we know when you're telling the truth?"
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone July 26-31, 2007, among a random sample of 500 Iowan adults likely to vote in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus. The results have a 4.5-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa. J. Ann Selzer, president of the public opinion research firm Selzer & Co. in Des Moines, consulted on project design.