It wasn't long after Maria Shriver's surprise appearance at that Obama rally in L.A., the one with Oprah, Caroline Kennedy, and Michelle Obama, that the betting markets made a major swing toward Barack Obama. Before that, the markets had persistently given Hillary Clinton a 60 percent-plus chance of being the Democratic nominee and made her the overwhelming favorite to win the California primary. Obama's South Carolina win and Ted Kennedy's endorsement of him did little to shake the belief that she was still the prohibitive favorite.
But between the endorsement by Shriver (the wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Kennedy) and a flurry of polls showing Obama closing fast, the numbers shifted significantly. As of early this morning, Clinton held only a narrow lead, 52 to 46—numbers I haven't seen since right after Iowa—with California dead even.