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4 Jan, 2008 22:28

Huckabee & Obama win Iowa caucuses

American Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls have undergone their first real test of public opinion. Former governor Mike Huckabee won the Republican caucus in Iowa followed by Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Barack Obama, who beat John Edwards and Hi

The Iowa caucuses are simultaneous meetings held across the state at which voters decide which of the contenders to back for nomination.

Mike Huckabee came first in the Republican caucus with 35.6%, leaving Mitt Romney behind with 26.5%. The two had been running neck-and-neck until Huckabee managed to defeat Romney, who's spent millions on his campaign.

On the Democratic side Barack Obama won with 37.58% beating John Edwards on 29.75% and Hillary Clinton on 29.47%.

Obama's message all along has been about hope, change and realising the American dream. Many have criticised him for being too young and inexperienced but his message resonated with Iowans.

During their evening celebrations both candidates expressed a belief that their campaigns had started successfully in Iowa and would continue in the same fashion.

Analysts say past Iowa caucuses have broken some campaigns and boosted others. However, the campaign has only just kicked off.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidates have gathered in the state of New Hampshire for a second nomination contest leading to the 2008 election.