CNN has Edwards narrowly ahead of Kerry, 40 to 37%, in Wisconsin, having gained substantially from support among independents. Dean is hovering in the teens. Edwards just gave a good performance on CNN. As before, he’s emphasizing his record on his trade and his personal background as his major differences with Kerry. He struck a charismatic balance between looking forward to “a two man race” and expressing praise for the voices Dean, Kucinich, and Sharpton have brought to the table, and respect for their right to stay in as far as July.

As I’ve mentioned before, I think the conventional wisdom, expressed on CNN by both Bob Dole and George Mitchell, that the Democrats are stronger with a short primary is off the mark, as I think Dubya’s falling approval ratings over this contested primary have shown. A longer primary is certainly better for the left, as it helps keep the candidates honest and accountable.

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