The withdrawals of former Senator John Edwards and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from the Presidential race have changed the dynamics of the races for the Democratic and Republican nominations for President.
Clearly, the Democratic race has become essentially a two person race between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. This coming Tuesday is "Super Tuesday" with 22 states having primaries and caucuses on the Democratic side. If the results on Tuesday are as polls have been recording, Sen. Clinton may well be close to wrapping up the nomination - if not already there - by this time next week. However, some polls are indicating a trend to Sen. Obama in major states. The latest Rasmussen polls in California and Massachusetts both show narrowing Clinton leads over Obama - 43% to 40% in California and 43% to 37% here in Massachusetts. It will be worth watching polls over the next few days to see if these trends continue. (Disclosure: TER has endorsed Sen. Obama for President.)
The Republican contest can be described now as a three person race with a clear frontrunner. Sen. John McCain has established himself as the frontrunner, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are still competitive in the race. At this point, it's anybody's guess how "Super Tuesday" will turn out. The race may even be no closer to resolution at this time next week.
Ten of the 21 states to be contested on the Republican side on Tuesday are still considered to be "toss-ups." These include Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, and Tennessee. Sen. McCain has clear and consistent leads in five states: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California, and his home state of Arizona. Two other states - Pennsylvania and Minnesota - had been led by former Mayor Giuliani; it is reasonable to see these states as now being lead by McCain. Former Governor Huckabee has consistent poll leads in two states: Texas and Georgia. Former Governor Romney also has leads in two states: Massachusetts and Utah.
If Sen. McCain can win a number of the current "toss-up" states - particularly Illinois - he may move toward wrapping up his party's nomination. If not, then we may see a greater possibility of an unresolved nomination heading into the Republican convention - possibly leading to a deadlocked or brokered convention.