The Plank

Those New South Carolina Numbers


My eyes are beginning to glaze over at the sight of polls, but some new
numbers out in South Carolina are worth mentioning. I am generally
skeptical of SurveyUSA's data, but Mike Huckabee's lead in their new poll
can't go unmentioned. He leads Romney by 17 points, 36% to 19%.
Giuliani is all the way down at fifth place with 9%. Perhaps even more
embarrassingly, Fred Thompson is in 4th place with 11%. He's done.

On the Democratic side, Obama is up 20 (Rasmussen
has him ahead by 12). Assuming Hillary Clinton loses substantially
tomorrow, it will be interesting to see whether she even decides to
campaign there. Joe Scarborough (who, I should add, has somehow
become one of the smartest and most engaging analysts on cable
television) was arguing that Clinton should completely give up on the
state and not make Rudy Giuliani's mistake of investing only partially
in tough places. This makes some sense, although a ubiquitous
Democratic operative (whose name eludes me) pointed out that this could
enrage prominent African Americans in the party. 

Regardles, the
state means nothing but trouble for Clinton, who would undoubtedly like
to go between now and February 5th without more voting. Each state's
primaries or caucuses give Obama huge media attention, fundraising
boosts, and momentum. She'll have eleven days between now and Nevada's
January 19th caucuses; it's probably her only window in which to turn this thing around.

--Isaac Chotiner

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