If the Giants' upset victory isn’t enough inspiration for the (former?) underdog Barack Obama, then maybe he’ll gain some confidence from a new slew of polls showing that the once daunting gap between him and Hillary Clinton has now vanished. A CBS/New York Times poll shows a 41-41 dead heat, a USA Today/Gallup poll has Clinton leading by a negligible one point, and a CNN poll puts Obama up by three. The three most recent California polls all show Obama ahead in the delegate-rich state, where up until recently Clinton had enjoyed double-digit leads. Read on to hear the story behind the numbers.
• Noam Schieber theorizes that if Clinton and Obama are tied nationally then Obama should be ahead in Super Tuesday states, because he generally does better in states where he’s campaigned. [The Stump/The New Republic]
• Tim Dickinson agrees, writing that his “gut” tells him Obama is running two or three points better in Super Tuesday states than nationally. [Rolling Stone]
• Craig Crawford thinks Obama has won the endorsement primary after snaring Garrison Keillor, Maria Shriver, and even the Grateful Dead this weekend. That is, unless Bill Richardson, who watched the Super Bowl with Bill Clinton, decides to back Hillary. [Trail Mix/CQ Politics]
• Speaking of endorsements, Governors Napolitano and Sebelius and Senator McCaskill come out strong for Obama today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. [Wall Street Journal]
• Dick Morris credits Obama’s surge to having a better message than the Clintons, although Clinton could still pull out a string of narrow victories tomorrow. [New York Post]
• Chuck Todd and company note that Obama might have trouble living up to the hype in California. They also wonder if part of Obama’s momentum comes from his perceived electability against McCain in the general. [New York Post]
• Clive Crooks concurs, writing that both Obama and McCain are helped by the fact that the base in both parties is more concerned with appeal to the middle and electability than anything else. [Financial Times] —Dan Amira