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Election 2008: A (Democrat) Primer Before the Primary

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With two months left until the Feb. 5 California Primary and 31 days until the Iowa Caucus, candidates from both parties are in full election cycle mode as they try to convince voters of their cause.

As we countdown to the Jan. 31 caucus and the CA. Primary, let's take a look at each candidate from the parties in a primer that is not intended to be complete but is meant to offer a brief glimpse into who you might want to support come February. In the coming weeks, we'll profile different candidates and offer a more complete look into who is vying to be the leader of the free world. All poll numbers listed are from, unless otherwise noted, and are current as of Nov. 29.

Today, we'll look at the Democrats, who are getting ready to have a debate tomorrow at 11 a.m. from Des Moines, Iowa, which is co-produced by NPR and Iowa Public Radio. You can listen via 89.3, KPCC

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Wednesday, we'll take a gander at the Grand Ole Party of the Republicans.

Joe Biden

Age: 65

Current or Immediate Past Position: Senator from Delaware

Where He Stands Now: It's not looking good for Biden in California who is now polling at 1.6%. He currently trails four candidates- Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Richardson and one non-candidate-Al Gore, who is at 23.5%. In Iowa, Biden still stands fourth among the candidates at 4.5% according to Pollster, but third according to an AEG poll, which puts him ahead of Richardson at 8%. Nationally, he's fourth at 2.6%.

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Hillary Clinton

Age: 60

Current or Immediate Past Position: Senator from New York

Where She Stands Now: Sen. Clinton has consistently polled at the top of the heap in this current crop of candidates. In California, she now counts no more than half of registered Democrats for support at 53%. In Iowa, though, it's a different picture. In the wake of an unleashed Obama, Clinton is losing some ground as she is just two percentage points above to the Illinois Senator at 28.4%, Nationally, she is feeling more secure with 48%.

Christopher Dodd

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Age: 63

Current or Immediate Past Position: Senator from Connecticut

Where He Stands: Dodd has been unable to garner much national support. He sits at around 1% in all polls, but has raised over $13 million with support from Alec Baldwin, Barbara Streisand and others.

John Edwards

Age: 54

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Current or Immediate Past Position: Edwards is a former Senator from South Carolina.

Where He Stands: Edwards trails Clinton and Obama in California, counting about 10% of support from Dems. In Iowa, the race is much closer as Edwards sits at 21.4%, about seven percentage points behind Clinton. Nationally, he is at 11.8%, well behind both Clinton and Obama.

Mike Gravel

Age: 77

Current or Immediate Past Position: Gravel is a former Senator from Alaska.

Where He Stands: While Gravel doesn't get noticed much (having even been left off a recent MSNBC poll), he has been praised by a wide variety of figures, such as Ralph Nader, who said Gravel is like 'a fresh wind coming down from Alaska.'

Dennis Kucinich

Age: 61

Current or Immediate Past Position: Congressman representing Ohio's 10th district.

Where He Stands: While Kucinich is not considered a leading candidate (in the sense that he is not leading in any of the polls), he does fare well as a possible candidate. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, it's Kucinich 34% and Giuliani 46% and Kucinich 36%, Thompson 42%. He just has to get over that hump of, you know, his own party.

Barack Obama

Age: 46

Current or Immediate Past Position: Senator from Illinois.

Where He Stands: Obama trails the juggernaut Clinton campaign in California. As mentioned, Clinton sits at 53%, while Obama is at 18.7%. But, in Iowa it's a different story, as it's a statistical dead heat with Clinton. She's at 28%, he at 26%. Nationally, it's Clinton 45%, Obama 24%.

Bill Richardson

Age: 60

Current or Immediate Past Position: Governor of New Mexico.

Where He Stands: Richardson's campaign sits solidly in fourth place in the Pollster California poll (3.8%). In Iowa, he polls around 9% and nationally at 3.2%.

If it looks as if the story is written about who will garner the nomination from the Democratic party, remember that in October, Obama trailed Clinton by as much as 10% in Iowa. Everything will change after Jan. 31, when some candidates could drop out which will free up money and support to the more top-tier Democrats. Stay tuned. If the past is any indication of the future, it's gonna be one hell of a fun campaign.