RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.
MONTAGNE: NPR's Cokie Roberts is tracking those polls and joins us now. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: These two polls, New York Times/CBS and Washington Post/ABC, show the same front-runners, but the big change appears to be on the Republican side.
ROBERTS: That's right. John McCain up ahead in both polls and that is a big change. In the ABC poll, he is at 28 percent and last month was at 12 percent. Both also show Huckabee in second place, big difference between the two, though, after that. Romney in third place on the ABC poll, Giuliani in the New York Times poll. So still a lot of fluidity in that Republican race. That's really what we're seeing there. Both also show Hillary Clinton continuing to lead. Interestingly, the New York Times poll has Obama way behind her at 27 percent. The ABC poll has him virtually tied with her at 37 percent, so movement there as well.
MONTAGNE: So in a sense, pick your polls. Although, Cokie, a lot of people are going to be thinking, hey, they were really wrong in New Hampshire.
ROBERTS: For instance, what issues are the voters concerned about. And these polls tell us that voters are very concerned about the economy, much more so than they were six months ago. And tomorrow night there'll be another big Democratic debate and you'll see that addressed much more because of the polls. It also tells you who's going where. And these polls say that the independents are the big supporters of both John McCain and Barack Obama. That could be a problem for both of them in closed primaries where only Democrats and Republicans can vote. They also show a big shift in the African-American community in the ABC poll. In last month's ABC poll, Hillary Clinton was leading among blacks, 52 to 39. In today's ABC poll, Barack Obama is leading among blacks by a big margin, 60 to 32. And that comes, Renee, of course, as the issue of race has been raised in this campaign. So that's something that everybody will be watching.
MONTAGNE: As we've been reporting this morning, sharp exchanges between the Obama and Clinton campaigns on the subject of race.
ROBERTS: And it's mainly been by the surrogates. But yesterday, Senator Clinton went on NBC to defend herself on the subject. Let's listen to Senator Clinton.
ROBERTS: You have an African-American, an extraordinary man, a person of tremendous talents and abilities running to become our president. You have a woman running to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling. I don't think either of us want to inject race or gender in this campaign.
ROBERTS: But of course, both have been injected into the campaign. And Senator Obama directly answered yesterday the charges of the Clinton campaign, that he was distorting what Senator Clinton had said, that Martin Luther King could not have accomplished what he had accomplished without President Johnson. Obama said, I didn't - I never said anything about any of that. It's all come from her. So we're going to see a lot more back-and-forthing here on this issue, particularly going into primaries where there are huge African-American votes.
MONTAGNE: Cokie, thanks very much. News analyst Cokie Roberts.
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