Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nevada and South Carolina: Hot washup

Summary: In my predictions, I nailed South Carolina in terms of ranking, but blew one aspect of percentages -- and completely blew Nevada.

I predicted a solid McCain win in Nevada, and he came in third with Romney really blowing the place out. Ron Paul performed exactly to my percentage prediction, but it was enough to put him in second place rather than the third place finish I had him pegged for. The conventional wisdom on the Romney win is "the Mormon vote got out." Makes as much sense as anything I can think of.

South Carolina: I predicted McCain in 1st place with 32%. He came in first place with 33%. I predicted Huckabee in 2nd place with 24%. He came in 2nd place with 29%. I had it too close to call for third, with Romney and Thompson both performing in the 15% range. With 96% of precincts reporting, they're at 15.07% and 15.75% respectively, with about 3,000 votes separating them. I predicted Paul in fourth place with 10%. He placed fourth, but with less than 4% of the vote. I continue to underestimate Huckabee v. Paul in states with a big social conservative vote.

Giuliani performed below even my low expectations of him: I had him at 8% in Nevada and 4% in South Carolina. He pulled 4% and 2% respectively. If I've been correct on very little else, I've had Giuliani pegged since before he announced -- he never had any chance of winning the GOP nomination. There's only room for one New York-based Il Duce clone in the top slot, and Hillary successfully called dibs on that candidate niche. I expected Giuliani to collapse before voting even began and was surprised that he didn't, but I never had any doubt he would go down. If he's smart, he'll cut a deal, abandon his "Florida strategy" before it abandons him on the 29th, and drop out.

Paul, on the other hand, is in better shape than he was last week. He's still not going to be the GOP nominee. He probably won't carry and single state and certainly won't carry the five states he needs to procure floor time at the national convention. However, his second place finish in Nevada probably means he'll be able to keep the skeer up, raise more money, and maintain momentum for whatever purpose he actually has in mind.

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