As of noon, the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the Democratic nomination has Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by 43 percent to 34 percent, but most of the polling was done before John Edwards dropped out of the race, and what will happen to his 13 percent may be crucial. Late January polls had Edwards still getting more than a quarter of the vote in Missouri and Oklahoma, but Obama whould have to inherit an overwhelming percentage of the Edwards vote to catch up to Clinton. The New York senator also has a 59-26 edge in a new poll from Tennessee. Obama can be heartened by his 43-35 lead in an aggregate of polls from Georgia and a surprising 40-40 tie in a poll from Connecticut. In the biggest state to vote next Tuesday, RealClearPolitics's average is 45 for Clinton and 33 for Obama, but the latest polls show a tightening of the race there.
On the Republican side, a big question is whether Mike Huckabee's support holds up on Tuesday. Recent polls have him above 25 percent in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. If his voters drift into a choice between John McCain and Mitt Romney, how will they go? If McCain inherits the support of Rudy Giuliani and sweeps the Northeast primaries, Romney will somehow have to stop the Arizona senator from also picking up wins in the South.
The national average has McCain at 27 percent and Romney at 20 percent, with Huckabee still close behind at 19 percent. The average of California polls has McCain at 33 percent and Romney at 24 percent.