Barack Obama: 32 percent
Hillary Clinton: 30 percent
John Edwards: 27 percent
It's still close, and Edwards' delegate count is just fine, thanks. He's in the running to be kingmaker at the convention, and if something unpredictable happens, he's still within distance to win it all. He'd be a fool to step out now. Nor does the fact that South Carolina is polling badly for him mean much--it's only one state.
Next, a word for Obama supporters who want Edwards to step out, from Krugman:
Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.
For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama's supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.
I would add that he also uses right wing frames far more often that the other two, his senior economic advisers are virtually reactionaries and talk of "hope" doesn't make you a progressive. (Remember Mr. "Morning in America" Reagan if you are inclined to disagree.)
It remains unclear to me that Edwards' supporters would go to Obama if Edwards dropped out, but the bottom line is simpler--there is no reason for Edwards to drop out. He's still in the running, and if he wants to choose which of the other candidates wins if he doesn't, walking into the convention with a block of delegates large enough to do it is the best way.
And Obama isn't Edwards--he is significantly to the right of Edwards and on the fight/compromise spectrum he is actually the most conciliatory of the three candidates. Edwards supporters want a fighter; that isn't Obama.
Edwards is alive and kicking, and a force to be reckoned with. There's no good reason for him to ever drop out of the nomination contest. Time for Obama supporters to tend to their own campaign, not to Edwards.