Campaigning in Wisconsin, Sen. Hillary Clinton is trying to slow some of the momentum Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has going into Tuesday's primaries in both Wisconsin and Hawaii.
Polls suggest a tight race in Wisconsin with Obama holding a small, five-point lead over the New York senator, according to a recent Research 2000 poll conducted for Madison's WISC-TV. Obama is also thought to have an edge in Hawaii, where he grew up.
"Wisconsin's a competitive race," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters on a conference call today.
Obama has won the last eight consecutive primary contests, giving him a huge boost of momentum and allowing him to pull ahead of Clinton in pledged delegates to the party's convention in August.
Plouffe argued a win in Wisconsin would move Obama further ahead in their delegate battle with Clinton and would quiet opponents who have credited his wins to black voters and high-income, urban Democrats.
Clinton counts Hispanic voters, low-income Democrats, white women and rural voters among her core supporters.
"This is a state where by their own definition you've got heavy blue-collar portions of the electorate, you've got a lot of rural areas. … This is a playing field that by their own language would tilt in their favor and we're going to try to do as well as we can tomorrow," Plouffe said.
The Clinton campaign downplayed expectations for Wisconsin today, arguing its focus is winning the delegate-rich states of Ohio and Texas that vote March 4.
"I do not subscribe to the momentum theory of American politics," Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson told reporters on another conference call, which was held at the same time Plouffe was talking up reporters covering the Obama campaign.
"We feel very good about Ohio and Texas, which are the next big contests that vote after Wisconsin and Hawaii," Wolfson said.
Political watchers say Wisconsin's open primary system could favor Obama.
"Wisconsin's going to be tough [for Clinton], even though those polls are close. You can show up at the polls and register in Wisconsin. Independents can vote in the Democratic primary — those are the Obama voters," ABC News' Cokie Roberts said today on "Good Morning America."
Clinton today tried to make up for campaign events in Wisconsin that were scrubbed over the weekend due to a snowstorm that prevented her and Obama from campaigning there as planned.
The former first lady unveiled an economic plan today targeting middle-class voters important in votes in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Her 13-page economic plan details the her ideas for developing middle-class jobs, addressing the home foreclosure crisis and achieving universal health care.
The plan has been posted online and will be distributed to voters at campaign events.
Obama spends most of his day campaigning in Ohio today and will hold an event in Wisconsin later tonight. The Illinois senator flew for a meeting with former Sen. John Edwards at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., Sunday, whose endorsement both candidates are seeking.
The battle for Wisconsin has gone negative in recent weeks with Clinton launching attack ads against Obama in the state urging him to debate her. Former President Clinton and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton have spent significant time in the state lobbying for Clinton.