Monday, January 23, 2012

So What To Make Of South Carolina?

By the way, before I dive in deep, Herman Cain drew 1100 votes. So much for Colbertmentum.
I wouldn't make too much of this victory. Altho it is pretty impressive in terms of how far he came back and how fast, according to exit polling, something like 60% of voters made up their minds just before heading into the booth. And this in a state where seven out of ten Republicans self-identify as conservative. He may have support, but it's the support of a man whose biggest rivals have left him standing alone against Goliath. It's grudging and it's probably fleeting.
To be sure, Romney has some serious retooling ahead of him, because he's pissing away delegates he should be capturing. While this shouldn't hurt him in the long haul much (he's already a head by a fair bit in committed superdelegates) if one or two of the runners up decide to throw their support behind Gingrich or even Paul, it could be a long nasty fight at the Tampa Bay convention.
Too, something like 70% of South Carolina Republicans are evangelical Christians, which pretty much discounted Mitt from the get-go. That it took Newt this long to grab their attention speaks volumes of how they held their noses to vote for him. And while they will undoubtedly vote for Anyone But Barack, the lack of enthusiasm speaks well for the President in South Carolina. Not that he'll win the state, but he can make it competitive and force the GOP to spend money there.
And Nikki Haley probably backed the wrong horse in her state, altho nationally she may still be able to salvage something out of her endorsement of Romney. It's interesting that, as her mentor, Sarah Palin, danced with endorsing Gingrich, Haley jumped into Romney's camp with both feet. Her re-election bid in two years ought to be interesting.