Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 19: South Carolina (Republican)

McCain 33
Huckabee 30
Thompson 16*
Romney 15
Paul 4
Giuliani 2

*subsequently dropped out of the race.

John McCain lost Michigan to Mitt Romney, but he has regained his momentum and his front-runner status with his South Carolina win. The Republican contest has boiled down to McCain versus Romney at this juncture. Mike Huckabee not only couldn't pull out the victory, but he has trailed John McCain in every election since Iowa. Fred Thompson did finish third by a whisker over Romney, yet he decided to throw in the towel. Curiously, he did not endorse McCain (which he had said he would do), thereby releasing his supporters to all three of the surviving contenders.

With a two-week hiatus, followed by Florida (on Saturday, February 2) and Super Tuesday on the 5th in quick succession, the Republican contest shifts from a succession of local campaigns to a national campaign. This really hurts Mike Huckabee, who doesn't have the money, campaign team, or all-around national political experience of McCain and Romney. Unless he wins Florida outright, it's easy to see Huckabee buried in third place after Super Tuesday.

Pundits continue to talk about Rudy Giuliani as a threat in Florida and New York. I don't know why - he hasn't outpolled Ron Paul anywhere but New Hampshire or won a 10% vote share in any state. Color me unconvinced.

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