Saturday, January 19, 2008

South Carolina/Nevada results preview

By Rick Morris

In a result that barely merits mention, the Romney campaign will rack up a sizable win by default in Nevada because the attention of all other campaigns will be diverted elsewhere – shades of Wyoming. Look for a Mittens victory dance anyway. McCain, Huckabee, Thompson and Giuliani will follow in that order.

Over in South Carolina, where everyone’s focus has been for most of the week, McCain will avenge his devastating loss to Dubya in 2000 by besting Huckabee by about four percentage points. Thompson will be a distant third, followed narrowly by Romney. The toughest dynamic for me to compute in either Nevada or South Carolina was the battle for third place in the Palmetto State. Romney is basically conceding that he will finish fourth, which, given the massive intellectual dishonesty of his campaign, naturally makes me wonder if he secretly has sound reason to believe he will finish ahead of Thompson and is anticipating another of his patented cheesy “I beat the expectations” moments. But the fact that he is tanking in the latest major poll released makes me believe that his fade is for real. Unfortunately for America, this finish could still be quite damaging if not a mortal blow to the best candidate in the race, Fred Dalton Thompson.

The Nevada Democrats appear poised to throw another curveball into what has already been a chaotic election process this year. Hillary is leading Obama in most of the major polls, and appears able to survive the endorsement momentum the Illinois senator received from major Nevada unions. Look for Clinton to win by about four points, with Edwards a noisy irrelevancy back in the high teens.

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