Stop the presses! The very latest polling data from California indicate a sharp trend for Obama and against Hillary. Preliminary indications in other states are that the trend is very widespread and not just concentrated on the west coast.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen's three day tracking survey, conducted on January 28-30, shows Hillary with a bare and dwindling 3 point lead over Obama in California. He has Hillary at 43%, Obama at 40%, and Edwards (two of the three days were before he dropped out) at 9%. This data compares with a 20 point plus Hillary margin in most polls in California just a few weeks ago.
Other polls have Obama winning Georgia (O-52 H-36) and Alabama (O-40 H-35) with their sizable minority populations, but also very close in Massachusetts, trailing there by only H-43 O-37 and in Montana by only H-40 O-33. National polls also indicate a sharp closing of the race. Gallup has Hillary just six ahead and Rasmussen's national data is even closer.
Edwards' withdrawal will help Obama in all likelihood and, with these poll numbers, he is more likely to endorse Obama.
Of course, a lot will hinge on how well each candidate does in tonight's Democratic debate.
But there could be a wrinkle. In most states, most of the delegates are awarded by Congressional District and the candidate with the most votes wins all the delegates from that district. Even if Obama were to carry California by, say 53-47, he might win the black districts by 80-20 and lose most or all of the white districts, giving Hillary the vast bulk of the delegates. Obama would have to get his margin of victory up to 8-10 points to be sure of sweeping the delegates in a given state.
Yet, when all is said and done, the trend lines for Obama are unbelievably positive just a few days before Super Tuesday.
The McCain nomination looks like a done deal. He is beating Romney in all five states with recent polls, winning California by 32-28, Illinois by 34-26, Georgia by 35-24, and Tennessee by 33-25. Huckabee is in second place in Tennessee with Romney running last.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann