Greg Valliere, politics guru at the Stafford Group, an institutional research firm, gives his quick take on the 2008 candidates:
Sen. Hillary Clinton: She can't quite close the deal, and that must worry her handlers.... We think Clinton will win most of the Super Tuesday primaries and, like her husband, be called the comeback kid. But she's no Bill Clinton.
Sen. Barack Obama: Momentum is a powerful force in politics, and Obama has it; his crowds are enthusiastic and growing.... For now Obama is still the underdog, but not by much.
Rudy Giuliani: Even though he'll probably finish fourth or fifth in Iowa, and third or lower in New Hampshire, Giuliani is still considered the frontrunner because of the likelihood that he will dominate Super Tuesday.... Could Huckabee beat Giuliani for the nomination? That's extremely unlikely, but Romney or even John McCain might.
Mitt Romney: A year ago, when Romney was stuck at 2% in national polls, we thought he was the candidate to watch, and he still brings major attributes to the race. But his bold strategy of using Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan as a springboard to the nomination is now looking shaky.
Mike Huckabee: There's no one smoother than Huckabee. He may win Iowa and finish strongly in New Hampshire, but is Huckabee peaking too soon? Behind the scenes, the Republican establishment is working furiously to derail his campaign.
John McCain: Timing is everything, and McCain could peak at just the right moment in New Hampshire.... He doesn't have much money, he's probably too old, and he's often too blunt, but if you're looking to put money on a 10-to-1 shot, McCain is the obvious pick.
Our bottom line is shaky. We still think Hillary Clinton will be the nominee and the next president, but Obama is on such a roll that he can't be ruled out. We're not quite ready to throw in the towel on our call that Romney will be the GOP nominee .... It still feels like 2008 will be the Democrats' year.
My take: I love to watch the betting markets like the one over at RealClearPolitics, which, on the GOP side, puts the odds on Giuliani at 40 percent, Romney 21 percent, Huckabee 19 percent, and McCain 9 percent. For the Democratic nomination, it's Hillary at 62 percent and Obama at 33 percent. The big news is that both Obama and Huckabee have surged, though Huckabee seems to have hit a plateau for now.