The new national Washington Post/ABC poll: "Clinton had dominated in national polls from the outset, holding a 30-point advantage as recently as a month ago, but the competitiveness of the first two contests appears to have reverberated among Democrats across the country. In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Ill.). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent."
The latest New York Times/CBS poll doesn't have Obama making up as much ground as in the Washington Post/ABC poll. "Among Democratic primary voters nationally, Mrs. Clinton, of New York, remains the favorite of 42 percent, compared with 27 percent backing Mr. Obama, of Illinois - essentially unchanged since December. John Edwards of North Carolina remains in third place at 11 percent… The survey showed that Democratic voters see Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton as evenly matched on several leadership qualities, despite the efforts of both camps to draw distinctions. Virtually the same percentages of Democrats said Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama could unify the country and bring about 'real change.' Both were given high marks as potential commanders in chief. But Mrs. Clinton retains a strong edge on her readiness to be president."
The L.A. Times looks at the battle for these prized supporters and quotes an AP tally showing Clinton leading Obama 163-64 among these folks. But remember, they are not pledged, which means they can change their mind at the drop of a hat. We're willing to bet a free subscription to First Read that both campaigns have the same number of superdelegates on their definite support list.
CLINTON: She's on the cover of Newsweek, where Jon Meachman pens an article based on an interview this week. Clinton, dissecting Iowa, then New Hampshire: "'What I realized is that the reason I do this, why I get up every day, why I believe in our country and the importance of leadership, was not getting across the way that I wanted it to,' Clinton told NEWSWEEK about Iowa. She continued: 'I get so focused on what I want to do as president that I get a little wonky, I get a little out there, with details, with five-point plans for this and 10-point plans for that, and I think that what I'm proposing really is both achievable and important, but it's not what gets me up, so why should it get voters excited? It sounds almost overly simplistic, but I had enough time in the Senate race for people to see me as a human being, they could see me in all of my dimensions, and they could draw their own conclusions… But in the presidential campaign I think I sort of pocketed too much of that. I thought, well, I've been in the public eye for so long now, and as a senator I first defied expectations to get elected and immediately went to work with Republicans, I did a lot to try to solve the problems we faced, so, obviously, people will [infer] that I'm doing it because I really care about the outcomes. I don't think that was a smart assumption for me to make, or for my campaign to make, very honestly.'"
EDWARDS: He campaigned in South Carolina on Saturday, "hoping to rally supporters in three towns and looking for his first win."
OBAMA: Have the Clintons found Obama's Achilles Heal? Newsweek notes the effectiveness of the abortion hit on Obama in New Hampshire, which talked about his "present votes" (although those present votes were part of a Planned Parenthood-backed strategy). From the piece: "The abortion maneuver is emblematic of a style of politics that shows up throughout Obama's career, both in Illinois and in Washington. Though in speeches he sounds like an idealistic revolutionary out to take back the capital, Obama's record suggests he is actually more of an incrementalist. On the stump, he speaks in the grandest terms, but in practice he inches his way toward a goal. At times he has settled for a piece of what he set out to achieve in hopes of getting a little bit more the next time around. If Obama is selling any revolutionary idea, it's a celebration of compromise."
More: "At times, what Obama might call pragmatism can look like a simple loss of nerve. When he was running for the U.S. Senate in 2003, Obama filled out a questionnaire for the Illinois chapter of the National Organization for Women in which he stated his opposition to the president's Patriot Act. "Yes, I would vote to repeal the U.S. Patriot Act," he wrote. "I would consider replacing that shoddy and dangerous law with a new, carefully crafted proposal that addressed in a much more limited fashion the legitimate needs of law enforcement in combating terrorism." In a speech to the American Library Association, he called for the Senate to rewrite the law to keep "Big Brother" from "peering over our shoulder." Yet when the Patriot Act came up for renewal in 2005, Obama compromised and voted alongside 88 other senators to reauthorize the law, even though the new version had only "modest" changes. "The compromise is far from perfect," he said. But it was good enough."