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N.H. Edition: Washington Wrap

Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Beth Lester and Clothilde Ewing of the CBS News Political Unit have the latest from the nation's capital.

Sunday's Headlines

* Polls Show Kerry Still Leading in New Hampshire, Battle for Second Getting Crowded

* Indies in the Live Free or Die State

* Gephardt Superdelegates Start Shifting to His Former Rivals

* John and Teresa Heinz Kerry Talk to Ed Bradley on CBS News 60 Minutes Sunday Night

Poll Watch: A Four-Way Tie for Second? Two days before New Hampshire goes to the polls, John Kerry is so solidly in the lead that the big question mark seems to be in second place. A new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll (conducted Jan. 23 through Jan. 24, margin of error 5 percent) shows Kerry with a 23 point lead over his nearest rival, Howard Dean, but just a three point difference between Dean, Wesley Clark and John Edwards. As pollster Gerry Chervinsky writes "support for John Kerry continues to increase….Wesley Clark and John Edwards remain in a statistical dead-heat with Dean for second place." Another poll from the same evenings by 7 News/Suffolk University (conducted Jan. 23 through Jan. 24, margin of error 4.9 percent) shows three tiers: Kerry in first with 36, Dean in second with 20, and Clark, Edwards and Lieberman battling for third.

In the four three-day tracking polls, the jockeying for second and third is also visible. American Research Group (conducted Jan. 22 through Jan. 24, margin of error 4 percent) shows Kerry leading with 38 and just two points separating Clark, Dean and Edwards. Although pollster Dick Bennett notes that "Howard Dean is up 10 percentage points from his low on January 22", he is still trails Kerry by 17 – not enough for a convincing second place. Today's Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll (conducted Jan. 22 through 24, margin of error 4 percent) shows slightly better news for Dean, with Kerry leading 30 to 23 and a 10-point gap between Dean and Clark with 13. Edwards is only at nine points, but that is his highest level since this poll series began so he may be moving up as well. And the new FOX/WCVB-TV/WMUR-TV (conducted Jan. 22 through Jan. 24, margin of error 4.6 percent) poll shows "a two-man contest with John Kerry leading the Democratic field and Howard Dean lagging a distant second." Kerry has 37 in that poll, with Dean at 22, and Edwards and Clark statistically tied for third. And to round out the pack, the Boston Herald (conducted Jan. 22 through Jan. 24, margin of error 4.3 percent) shows Kerry with 35, Dean with 23 and Edwards beating Clark for third place, 14 to 11.

There is one two-day tracking poll that shows a different picture than the rest in the battle for second/third. Today's just released CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll (conducted Jan. 23-24, margin of error 4 percent) poll shows Kerry with 38, Dean with 25 and Joe Lieberman, who is in fifth place in most polls, in third with 12 points. In this poll, Gallup concludes, shows that "it appears as if it is Clark, rather than Dean, who could have the most disappointing finish in New Hampshire." With so many polls, the only part that seems clear is that Kerry is leading. Depending on how you read the tea leaves beyond that, Dean is either stabilized in second place or there is a major war for second and third between Dean/Clark/Edwards/Lieberman. Stay tuned for tomorrow's numbers.

Boston Globe/WBZ-TV 1/23-24 (400 interviews)
Kerry 38
Dean 15
Clark 14
Edwards 12
Undecided 14

7 News/Suffolk University 1/23-24 (400 interviews)
Kerry 36
Dean 20
Clark 11
Edwards 8
Undecided 17

American Research Group 1/22-24 (620 interviews)
Kerry 38
Clark 17
Dean 16
Edwards 15
Undecided 8

Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby 1/22-24 (601 interviews)
Kerry 30
Dean 23
Clark 13
Edwards 9
Undecided 13

FOX/WCVB-TV/WMUR-TV 1/22-24 (463 interviews)
Kerry 37
Dean 22
Edwards 12
Clark 11
Undecided 6

Boston Herald 1/22-24 (524 interviews)
Kerry 35
Dean 23
Edwards 14
Clark 11
Undecided 8

CNN/USA Today/Gallup 1/23-24 (688 interviews)
Kerry 38
Dean 25
Lieberman 12
Clark 10
Edwards 9
Undecided 4

Independent/Undeclared New Hampshire Voters: CBS News Director of Surveys Kathy Frankovic has taken a look at some of the factors coming into play in the polls in trying to determine who will vote on Tuesday and why.

This is the first time since 1984 when there is no active contest on the Republican side in New Hampshire, there's likely to be a larger than usual share of the vote Tuesday being cast by registered independents (called "undeclared" in New Hampshire). Registered independents can vote in either party's primary.

In 2000, just under a third of the Democratic primary vote was cast by these voters. They voted for Bill Bradley over Al Gore, by 57% to 42%, and clearly propelled Bradley to his very close second place finish.

This year, pre-election polls have widely different estimates of the share of those voters: 33% in the WBZ/Globe poll, 50% in the Fox Poll.

Who would benefit from the likely higher vote from independents?

The WBZ/Globe poll suggests it helps Kerry, the Fox poll suggests it helps Clark. Neither indicates that it benefits Howard Dean

Electability And Issues In New Hampshire

Who can beat Bush matters to more voters this year than usually in New Hampshire. But it still takes a second place to issues.

In the WBZ/Globe poll, 42% say voting for a candidate who agrees with them on issues is more important than voting for a candidate with the best chance of winning, 31% say voting for a candidate who can win matters more.

Which issues matter? Number one is health care at 32%, with jobs and the economy second at 29%.

Kerry, and NOT Dr. Howard Dean, is the candidate who benefits most from the interest in health care. He leads Dean by more than three to one with those voters.

Latest CBS News Superdelegate Survey: In the wake of the Iowa caucuses and the departure of Rep. Dick Gephardt from the presidential race, CBS News and The New York Times re-contacted two groups of superdelegates: Gephardt supporters and those who were not committed to a candidate before Iowa but were leaning toward one.

John Edwards picked up six of Gephardt's 74 superdelegates. John Kerry got five, including a new one announced on Sunday in New Hampshire – Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who will join his father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, in Nashua for an event with Kerry. Wesley Clark got three former Gephardt superdelegates.

Fifty-two Gephardt supporters remain undecided. (Included in that 52 are eight Gephardt delegates who CBS News and the New York Times were unable to contact.) 311 superdelegates remain undecided.

There will be 801 superdelegate votes cast at the Democratic National Convention in July. 719 delegate votes come from superdelegates (members of Congress, governors, members of the Democratic National Committee and other elected officials) who have already been named. An additional 82 will be selected by state parties at some point before the convention.

The latest CBS News/New York Times superdelegate count, which includes those who said they support or are leaning toward a candidate:

Howard Dean 132
John Kerry 74
Wesley Clark 41
John Edwards 36
Joe Lieberman 27
Gephardt 8
Sharpton 3
Kucinich 2
Undecided 311

Quote of the Day: That's the first time I have heard a general be so dismissive of lieutenants, who bleed a lot in wars." – John Kerry, appearing on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday evening, discussing Wesley Clark's comments earlier in the week about their respective military careers. (60 Minutes)

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