Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Beth Lester and Clothilde Ewing of the CBS News Political Unit have the latest on the New Hampshire primary and other political news.
* Poll Watch: Kerry All The Way
* Superdelegates Are a Fickle Bunch
* Life After New Hampshire: The Candidates Look Ahead
* The South May Not Rise Again:
Poll Watch: Kerry All The Way: With voting underway in New Hampshire, all the polls are pointing in the same direction: a win for John Kerry. Today's Boston Globe/WBZ-TV (conducted Jan. 25 through Jan. 26, margin of error 4 percent) poll has Kerry with a 17-point lead and Suffolk University (conducted Jan. 25 through Jan. 26, margin of error 4.9 percent) has Kerry up by 18. A third two-day tracking poll from Marist College (conducted Jan. 25 through Jan. 26, margin of error 3 percent) shows Kerry leading by 11. The three-day tracking polls agree: American Research Group (conducted Jan. 24 through Jan. 26, margin of error 4 percent) counts Kerry's margin as 10 while Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby (conducted Jan. 24 through Jan. 26, margin of error 3.8 percent) has Kerry leading Dean by 14. Although pollsters Dick Bennett (ARG) and John Zogby (guess who) disagree on the trend among undecided voters, their polls are still lining up right for Kerry.
In the hotly contested battle for third, election day polls bring only the tiniest bit of clarity to the subject. John Edwards holds the third slot in four of the five polls and is tied in the fifth. Yesterday, he and Wesley Clark split the third place ranking in 8 polls and tied in one. Despite this seeming uptick, Edwards' "lead" is within the margin of error so kudos to the pollster whose numbers accurately predict this one.
Boston Globe/WBZ 1/25-26 (400 interviews)
Suffolk University 1/25-1/26 (401 interviews)
Marist College 1/25-26 (1,054 interviews)
American Research Group 1/24-26 (719 interviews)
Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby 1/24-26 (684 interviews)
Look Ahead: Tuesday's New Hampshire primary will do more than crown the new Don of New Hampshire. For many candidates it will also dictate how and where they will compete in seven states that vote on February 3, reports USA Today. For the first time this campaign season, candidates will be tested on a national stage. Voters will head to the polls in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Most of the candidates say they've raised significant amounts of money in the last week, but they don't want to waste money advertising in states where the odds may be against them. "We have had no problems raising money," campaign manager Joe Trippi said, though others are doubtful. He said the campaign pulled TV ads in Feb. 3 states not because they couldn't afford them but because New Hampshire could change the race as dramatically as Iowa did. The ads were "just a fast way to spend all your money" for gains that could be erased overnight by the New Hampshire results, he said. John Kerry meanwhile, isn't waiting long and already has plans to put up a new ad in Missouri on Wednesday CBS News has learned.
As for travel plans, once again the candidates aren't reading from the same script. The first Feb. 3 debate does not come until Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina so Wednesday they are on their own. Wesley Clark is expected to head to South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona on Wednesday and Thursday before returning to South Carolina to join the rest of the group for the debate. Visits to North Dakota and Missouri are also planned but not scheduled (Of course if he does poorly in NH this could all be revised as his money may start to dwindle.) John Edwards is focusing on four February 3 states and visiting three of them on Wednesday: South Carolina, Oklahoma and Missouri. His campaign says he also plans to compete in New Mexico and perhaps elsewhere though Arizona is still on the bubble. John Kerry is heading first to Missouri and then to South Carolina on Wednesday night. He'll spend Thursday in South Carolina and head to Delaware and Missouri again on Friday. Joe Lieberman is heading to Delaware and Oklahoma on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Dean will head to Burlington on Tuesday and where he goes next depends on Tuesday's results, Joe Trippi said.
The next debate is on Thursday in South Carolina and a second is set for Monday, February 2, in the now wide-open state of Missouri.
Superdelegates Are a Fickle Bunch: CBS News' latest survey of the Democratic superdelegates finds that while Howard Dean still firmly leads his rivals with 132, he is down five from his previous total.
CBS News called 19 superdelegates who had been "leaning" toward Dean and found two who switched to John Kerry, three who moved to undecided and 13 still leaning toward the former Vermont governor. Kerry now has 75 superdelegate commitments, including a new one as of Tuesday morning: Sen. Jon Corzine of New Jersey.
If Dean finishes poorly in New Hampshire, look for some bigger changes in this group of party officials and members of Congress. While superdelegates are not bound by the results of the primaries, they do tend to move towards the frontrunner.
Trailing Kerry and Dean are Wesley Clark with 42, John Edwards with 36, Joe Lieberman with 27, and Dick Gephardt with 8. That number will change in the coming days as the dust settles after New Hampshire and former Gephardt supporters begin filtering to other candidates. (Of those eight the biggest prize would be Gephardt himself)
Corzine's commitment to Kerry brings the total number of undecided superdelegates to 311.
There will be 801 superdelegate votes cast at the Democratic National Convention in July. 719 delegate votes come from superdelegates who have already been named. An additional 82 will be selected by state parties at some point before the convention.
The latest count as of Jan. 27:
(Notes: Numbers include those who said they support or are leaning toward a candidate. In addition to survey data, public endorsement information has been included in these counts.)
The South May Not Rise Again: In trying to emphasize the importance of New Hampshire in the general election, Senator John Kerry said at Dartmouth University on Saturday that the South was not absolutely crucial to a Democratic win in November.
"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South. Al Gore showed he could have won without winning one Southern state, including his own." This echoes a Washington Post op-ed piece last November by University of Maryland political scientist Tom Schaller who argued that Democrats should stop fixating on the South because they cannot win it, no matter how hard they try. Schaller argued that the key to a Democratic victory is to focus on the coasts, the Rust Belt and the southwest where a growing population of Latinos can provide Democrats with enough electoral votes to offset the South.
Democratic strategists are intrigued by the idea but are puzzled as to why Kerry would raise this on the eve of South Carolina primary. A Kerry advisor told CBS News that Kerry was merely making a "factual strategic point" and that in fact they were planning to compete in the South in the primaries and the general election.
Quote of the Day: "It's very late here in Dicksville Notch, New Hampshire" --Wesley Clark sending an email to supporters about his win in DIXVILLE Notch. Clark won the tiny town and it's late-voting partner Hart's Location with 14 votes to Kerry's 8. Dean and Edwards received 4 votes each and Joe Lieberman got 1 (Clark campaign e-mail).