Monday, January 21, 2008

Nevada and South Carolina Results and analysis

Nevada Democrat Results (98% reporting):

Clinton 5,355 (51%)
Obama 4,773 (45%)
Edwards 396 (4%)
Uncommitted 31 (0%)
Kucinich 5 (0%)
Richardson 0 (0%)

Nevada Republican Results (100% reporting):

Romney 22,649 51%
Paul 6,087 14%
McCain 5,651 13%
Huckabee 3,616 8%
Thompson 3,521 8%
Giuliani 1,910 4%
Hunter 890 2%
Tancredo 0 0%

South Carolina Republican Results (99% reporting):

McCain 143,224 33%
Huckabee 128,908 30%
Thompson 67,897 16%
Romney 64,970 15%
Paul 15,773 4%
Giuliani 9,112 2%
Hunter 1,035 0%

The biggest winners on Saturday night were Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Hillary Clinton. The biggest losers were Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and John Edwards. Here is the breakdown:

Mitt Romney: With a strong win in Nevada and a disappointing 4th place finish in South Carolina, both results basically cancel each other out. Romney's win in Nevada continues the pattern that every time he wins (Wyoming and Michigan included) he wins decisively. The loss in South Carolina is like a block party that got rained on for the Romney campaign. He came in fourth place which would have really hurt him in the long run if he had not won Nevada. Entering Florida, Romney now has 3 wins (Wyoming, Michigan, Nevada) and came in second in two states (Iowa and New Hampshire). He must still finish in the top 3 in Florida to make sure he can be successful on Super Tuesday.

John McCain: Similar to Romney's situation, McCain's win in South Carolina was big for him, but coming in 3rd place, almost 17,000 votes behind Romney, really makes the win in South Carolina not as big a deal. But McCain does now have two wins (New Hampshire and North Carolina) and 1 second place finish (Michigan). But with all the doubts surrounding McCain's "lack of appeal" among the Conservative base of the party. McCain needs a top 3 finish in Florida to ensure he has a chance on Super Tuesday. He cannot afford to fall far off the radar or his campaign could be almost totally over.

Mike Huckabee: His 4th place finish in Nevada was not as important because he was not seen as a real contender n Nevada. But his close second place finish to South Carolina was a defining position for the Huckabee campaign. He lost by only 14,000 plus votes in a state that was suppose to be a race between McCain, Fred Thompson, and Romney. Huckabee is showing he can "hang with the big boys". Now, entering Florida, he needs a top three finish to show he can finish among the frontrunners for the nomination entering Super Tuesday. He cannot afford to squander the Iowa win and the South Carolina second place finish.

Fred Thompson: He was working hard to win South Carolina after coming in third in Iowa. But after coming in third in South Carolina, a neighboring state of his home state Tennessee, Thompson campaign is practically done. This was his last shot at having a shot at the nomination. All he can hope for now is to be the eventual nominee's Vice President pick to run with them. The quandary for Thompson comes down to how badly he wants to be in the White House. If he is a man of principle, he cannot run as VP with either Huckabee or McCain. He has made it very clear in debates his distaste with Huckabee's record and positions and there is alot of ill feelings from Huckabee towards Thompson too. On the other, despite McCain and Thompson history together as fellow Senators, his recent attacks on McCain may have soured things between them. Also, since Thompson is "more conservative" than Giuliani, the only person I could see Thompson running with is Romney. But then again who knows with Thompson.

Rudy Giuliani: I feel like a broken record, but the fact that Rudy thinks that doing horribly in every primary, then winning in Florida and coming out strong on Super Tuesday still sounds like an asinine plan to me. But who knows, maybe he will be successful. I am going to repeat something I said before about his campaign strategy:

"If he wins in Florida, then uses that win to propel him to a strong showing on Super Tuesday, it will be considered the greatest political strategy of the 21st Century. And then you will see over the next 20 years Presidential wannabees try to duplicate the same strategy. But if he fails miserably, then Giuliani will be a Political Science discussion item in Universities over the next 100 years."

Ron Paul: He came in second in Nevada and 5th in South Carolina. The fact he got more votes in Nevada than Giuliani and Huckabee COMBINED is another sign that Ron Paul is truly the "protest" vote in the Republican primaries. He still will not win the nomination.

Duncan Hunter: He has ended his Presidential bid. No let’s wait and see who he will put his support behind.

Hillary Clinton: Her win in Nevada was close, she only beat Obama by 500 plus votes. But a win is a win and her campaign showed that their political spin machine still works effectively. She can take this win into South Carolina and say she is "keeping pace" with Obama and is not "behind" him. Hillary has won more states (3: New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada) than Obama (1: Iowa). It will still be a tight race in South Carolina. She needs to win in South Carolina to show she is the legitimate "frontrunner" entering the Super Tuesday Primaries. But a loss could mean chaos on Super Tuesday in a crazed state grab between her and Obama.

Barack Obama: The loss in Nevada is a bit of a blow on his campaign. With all the endorsements he received, it was expected he would do much better. But his campaign could take pride in how close they came (only 500 plus votes behind). Obama needs to win in South Carolina to keep pace with Clinton. A win for a Midwest Senator in the south would be a big key to Obama being the eventual nominee and doing well on Super Tuesday.

John Edwards: South Carolina primary is last hope at regaining any viability in this nomination process. He only got 396 votes in Nevada. Even Duncan Hunter got more votes (890) in the Republican Nevada caucus. Edwards’s campaign needs South Carolina or he is mathematically and perception wise finished.

Side Note: With all the discussion now about who on the Republican side may drop out, who will endorse who, etc., lets get serious here. Thompson will be the next one to drop out, then if Huckabee stumbles in Florida and is destroyed on Super Tuesday, he'll be done. I have had several people asked me about a potential "Huckabee-McCain conspiracy" going on. It wouldn't beyond politicians to work behind the scenes with each other. But a McCain-Huckabee ticket would be a bit hilarious on several levels. The man who is responsible for campaign finance laws as we know it today (McCain) running with the man who suffered the most from those laws (Huckabee). Interesting twist of fate that would be, huh?

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