Sunday, January 20, 2008

McCain wins South Carolina GOP primary and is now favourite to win nomination

Senator John McCain has scored a narrow victory over Mike Huckabee by 33% to 30%. In a state with such a high proportion of evangelical voters this is no mean achievement. Fred Thompson performed poorly securing 16% of the vote. Mitt Romney won just 15% of the vote. It is probable that Thompson damaged Mike Huckabee's prospects. Thompson has no realistic prospect of securing the GOP nomination and will probably bow out. It is now onto Florida for candidates for the nomination. Huckabee's campaign is hamstrung by lack of financial muscle. This will be highly problematic for him in Florida and later on Super Tuesday.

John McCain's campaign is now gaining momentum. This must make him favourite to win in Florida. Giuliani's failure to engage seriously in South Carolina and Iowa may cost him dearly. Indeed it is arguable that he will never be acceptable to a large segment of the Republican base-especially the social conservatives. McCain has attempted to mend fences with conservatives. This appears to be be paying rich political dividends. A key factor in the outcome in Florida will be the number of absentee ballots already cast. Romney will pour in huge financial resources into Florida. Mitt Romney spent $4 million in South Carolina. Nevertheless McCain may possibly shade Florida.

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