"A startling surge of support for Barack Obama has catapulted the Illinois senator into a virtual tie with Hillary Rodham Clinton in California's Democratic presidential primary," John Wildermuth and Carla Marinucci write in the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Clinton, a longtime California favorite, saw her once-commanding lead slip to two percentage points, 36 to 34 percent, in the new survey. That's down from the New York senator's 12 percentage point lead in mid-January and a 25 percentage point margin over Obama in October."
The advantage can be erased with a touchdown just about everywhere: McClatchy/Mason-Dixon polls in regional bellwethers have Clinton's lead at six points in Missouri, seven in New Jersey, two in Arizona, and nine in California, while Obama has a six-point edge in Georgia.
"That regional taste of the 22 Democratic contests on Tuesday suggests that the two will carve up the country, each emerging with a big bloc of delegates and the nomination far from clear. Second-place finishers win delegates in Democratic primaries," McClatchy's Stephen Thomma writes.
Obama, D-Ill., has a lopsided 55-24 advantage in his home state, per the Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll.
Back on the trail . . . everybody's trying to stir the sleeping giant: The battle over Latino voters is dominating the closing days of the race, in California and elsewhere. Obama is touting his support of driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants -- a key point that won him La Opinion's endorsement.
On immigration, Obama tells ABC's David Muir: "My position has been very similar to John McCain's, who's may be the likely Republican nominee, and if he wants to try to parse out this one issue of driver's licenses, an issue of public safety, my response is that we have to solve the overall problem and this driver's license issue is a distraction."
Clinton, D-N.Y., is making a direct appeal to Latino voters as part of her closing argument, ABC's Kate Snow, Susan Kriskey, and Eloise Harper report. "I was so honored when Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Cesar Chavez's grandson decided to offer their support," Clinton said Saturday in Los Angeles.
"They wanted to speak out and make clear that what we need today is what Bobby's father and Cesar's grandfather knew had to be a part of policy and change. We need a doer. We need a fighter. We need a champion."
But will the real heir to the RFK legacy please stand up?
Clinton has an ad up featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cesar L. Chavez. "Today, Hillary Clinton is the champion of the voiceless in our society," Kennedy says.
But RFK's widow, Ethel Kennedy, came out for Obama on Saturday. "Barack is so like Bobby," she wrote in a statement released by the Obama campaign.
The advantage among Latinos still appears to rest with Clinton: "Latino voters are poised to play a pivotal role in Tuesday's Democratic primaries, giving a likely boost to Hillary Clinton and frustrating the momentum enjoyed in the past week by Barack Obama, who is struggling to make himself known among a voter group that has been overwhelmingly supportive of his New York rival," Susan Milligan writes in The Boston Globe.