South Carolina: McCain is ahead and is starting to draw fire

Two new polls out of South Carolina this morning show McCain consolidating his lead. First up, we have a PPP survey that has been taken after Michigan's primary though that does not seem to be helping Romney:

  • McCain is ahead with 28%, followed by Huckabee at 20%, Mitt Romney at 18% and Fred Thompson at 17%.
The second poll is Zogby's tracking poll of which only a third is post-Michigan:

  • McCain stays at 29%, with Huckabee losing a point at 22%. Thompson rises two points at 14% and Romney is now at 12%, with Paul and Giuliani tied at 5%.
Be careful in analyzing Zogby's numbers, however, since any Romney bump could be detrimental to McCain, while Thompson's surge appears to be coming at Huckabee's expense. There is only 48 hours left, but we have seen how quickly dynamics change in the race this year.

The candidates are battling hard, and for evidence of which candidate is afraid of whom check this video someone took of a push poll they received that was pro-Huckabee and anti-Thompson. There are many reports of push polls flying around, and there is obviously no evidence that the Huckabee campaign is pushing this. But it's one more piece of evidence that Thompson's revival in South Carolina has been hurting Huckabee the most.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has been spending quite some time since New Hampshire claiming to be the object of unfair attacks. It leveled that charge against Romney a few weeks back despite the fact that McCain's ads were much more ad hominem than Romney's ever were. And it is now doing the same in South Carolina, having created a "Truth Squad" to fight smears. And this time he might very well be justified given the "Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain" campaign against him.

But McCain's rivals are not ready to concede that he is being any more attacked than they are (and to be fair, Thompson, Huckabee and Romney have spent quite a few weeks bashing each other here before McCain came into the picture). CNN quotes Rich Galen, a Thompson adviser, as saying calling into question McCain's complaints: "But 'the victim of what?' is, I think, a legitimate question. His victimhood is kind of empty."

One final note on South Carolina: Mitt Romney has scheduled 2 full days of campaigning in Nevada today and tomorrow. And he is already looking forward to Florida, as he has started running an ad there that is not showing in South Carolina, clearly indicating that he is as close to conceding South Carolina while raising the stakes for himself in Nevada -- and that could boost Thompson's chances of finishing a strong third in SC on Saturday.



  • Romney has more or less conceded the race in South Carolina according to reports I've heard. All the polls seem to show him and Thompson duking it out for 3rd place. Romney's victory in Michigan could turn out to be a mere blip on the radar.

    By Anonymous Steve, At 17 January, 2008 12:11  

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