Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's A McCain World

Last night finally brought some clarity to the Republican presidential campaign. You can't understate the significance of John McCain winning in South Carolina, particularly when you consider this was the state where his campaign imploded in 2000. Much remains to be decided, but if you had to pick a pony is this race, it's hard to look anywhere other than McCain.

McCain broke through the psychological ceiling, winning a southern primary in the conservative heartland, a state that always picks the eventual nominee. A tight contest doesn't detract from the headlines, nor the pundit's digestions- McCain is now the frontrunner.

Looking ahead, the next contest is pivotal. Florida is the last state before Super Tuesday, should McCain win there, his momentum will be unstoppable. The last batch of Florida polls have already given McCain a slight edge (RCP average: McCain 23%, Guiliani 20%, Romney 18%, Huckabee 17%). Common sense dictates a bounce for McCain coming out of South Carolina, the trends are positive. Guiliani's misguided strategy has focused on Florida, deciding 5th and 6th place finishes in the first contests don't matter- they clearly do and his Florida firewall has eroded over the last few weeks. Too early to say how Florida will vote, but all things considered, you have to like McCain's chances.

We are already seeing positive movement towards McCain in the national polls, where he now enjoys a full 10% lead over his closest rival. Couple this overall support with Super Tuesday states, and the frontrunner moniker seems justified. McCain has moved well ahead in the biggest state, California, a full 10 point lead. McCain is competitive in Guiliani's backyard, polling well in other southern states, looking strong in the southwest. Win Florida, and these numbers only get better, the idea of a brokered convention much less likely. At the moment, fluidity aside, it's clearly a John McCain world.


Oxford County Liberals said...

Funny thing Steve (and this is a continuation of last post) It was Clinton's camp that said a couple of days ago that "only delegates matter". Strange how she's crowing about her victory now, but conveneiently forgot to mention Obama actually got more delegates then her.

As tha relates to the Repubs, Romney won Nevada yesterday, by the way ;)Nevada had more delegates then SC - Romney basically swept that state's delgate slate, yet SC is supposedly some big barometer of McCain momentum? I don't buy it - yet.

Oxford County Liberals said...

A footnote - Romney actually increased his delegate lead yesterday over the Reoub field with his Nevada massive win.

Steve V said...

"It was Clinton's camp that said a couple of days ago that "only delegates matter"

Clinton was talking big picture, it certainly wasn't a statement on the current breakdown. Like I said in the last post, Clinton has now secured 1.6% of the delegates needed to win. It's a trivial argument at this point.

On the Republican race, Romney won Nevada because nobody else carried. Only Romney and Paul campaigned in the states, the only one's to run ads, the only one's to bother. The battle was South Carolina, and if you doubt that, look at which "victory" is getting most of the coverage. South Carolina is the story coming out of last night, that's seems pretty obvious. BTW, Romney outspent everyone in South Carolina, he spent months in the state campaigning, and only ran to Nevada last week, because he saw a defeat and was looking for a counter (which you seem to buy).

I don't really understand why you "don't buy" SC as a barometer, it has proven to be a bellweather every time in the past.

Steve V said...

"A footnote - Romney actually increased his delegate lead yesterday over the Reoub field with his Nevada massive win."

Scott, you are obsessing about the trivial. BTW, if we must, McCain won more delegates yesterday.

Oxford County Liberals said...

AS Talking Points Memo and Josh Marshall says, SC was an open primary, there aren't many of those left, and McCain in the current race doesn't win the Republican vote when only Repubs vote in the primaries. The Republican "base" dislike McCain immensely.

That's why I don't "buy" the win and the subsequent media spin (which you on your side seem to be buying into, since we're talking about buying) as some great indicator of McCain momentum and somehow showing the brokered convention won't happen now.

With Rush Limbaugh drooling on the radio everyday about how McCain sucks, and with Republican-voters only primaries now the majority of the primaries left.. the McCain coronation is far from a done deal.

Steve V said...


Romney 18
McCain 4

South Carolina

McCain 19
Romney 0

If we must ;)

Steve V said...

"the McCain coronation is far from a done deal."

Nobody is saying that, but you can't seem to acknowledge what McCain has accomplished either. BTW, Florida is a much more moderate conservative state, tailor-made for McCain- why do you think Guiliani moved there?

Oxford County Liberals said...

Further footnote: My apologies on the delegates. I see MCCain actually won a few in Nevada, so he actually gained 5 more delegates then Romney did in the 2 states which voted yesterday. Big Whoop ;)

Talk to me after Super Tuesday and let's look at Delegate count then.

Steve V said...

"Talk to me after Super Tuesday and let's look at Delegate count then."

That's my point :)

Steve V said...

Just to clear, I am by no means suggesting McCain is a lock, merely if I had to pick one of the Rep candidates to be, McCain is best positioned IMHO. said...

"McCain broke through the psychological ceiling, winning a southern primary in the conservative heartland, a state that always picks the eventual nominee."
That's actually not true.

Only since 1980 has South Carolina selected the candidate that would be the Presidential candidate.

Steve V said...

The "first in the south" SC primary began in 1980, so there is nothing "wrong" with that statement.

"Since the inception of the South Carolina Primary in 1980, no candidate has ever lost the South Carolina Primary and gone on to become the Republican Party’s nominee for President."

Anonymous said...

To put things in another perspective, I strongly believe Guiliani would much rather be waking up this morning knowing Huckabee had won SC than McCain - which does sort of hammer home the idea that McCain is positioned pretty well.

The race is far from over, however, and the closed primary argument is worth mentioning.

I think you both have good points . . . maybe you should leave it at that. These folks called voters will come along over the next few weeks, and help clarify the situation ; ).

Steve V said...

"the closed primary argument is worth mentioning."

That of course is the final hurdle.

Steve V said...

For what it's worth, McCain is starting to rack up quite a few Florida newspaper endorsements. There are also rumors that Florida GOP Senator Mel Martinez is set to endorse McCain, considering 1/10 Republican voters are expected to be former Cubans, the Cuban born Martinez would be quite a get.

Anonymous said...

George Will on the ABC this morning said that Florida has become winner take all. Closed primary in a large state. Everything to play for.

No switchover in the Dems for Romney to occur here. No way for you to influence the vote.

McCain has the advantage everywhere from Broward County, Tampa, and Pensacola. Huckabee is too dependent on the Panhandle. I don't understand what Giuliani's strategy is, except he is targeting community living retirees. Romney is focusing on the economy, but he may need to do a Tancredo. The threat of drug smugglers landing in the swamps of the Everglades may help to beat McCain, or shoot his whole campaign in flames.

Steve V said...


I've read a few things, about how immigration plays in Florida. Some are arguing that McCain's stance may play well there, given the ethnic character of many Republican voters.

BTW, I should note, I just read something that said Martinez will not endorse McCain tomorrow as rumored, in fact he might stay out, due to intense pressure from supporters of other camps. Martinez praised McCain for the immigration bill and said critics were "wrong".

Anonymous said...

I may prove to be wrong here, but having lived in Florida for a number of years in a former life ; ), I'm going to say McCain carries it.

Lots of military throughout the state (especially in the conservative panhandle, he's enough of a moderate to satisfy the somewhat under-appreciated moderation of the state (Florida is southern but it ain't no South Carolina), and the high number of hispanic republicans who might warm to McCain (as pointed out by mushroom).

Unless he goofs (which could happen but not likely), he can carry Florida - especially with the number of players still in the game to divide the vote.

Anonymous said...


Kudos to Steve for highlighting McCain and the Hispanic vote. At least he cares for the soldiers, unlike other neo-cons.

I remarked on Romney possibly doing a Tancredo, which will be fun to watch if you desire a Republican meltdown.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud veteran of our great country, so I respect Jonn McCain for his service to our country. However, he is not the strong tiger on national security everyone thinks he is. I mean the man would not even consider water-boarding a terrorist to get info that could save countless American lives; a terrorist now, not a uniformed soldier fighting in a specific country's army. His argument against it is if we did, then the enemy would start torturing our soldiers. Start? John, let's look at the facts. Our enemies are already cutting heads off, hanging and burning bodies, dragging them behind vehicles, and God knows what else. Look at all the tortue rooms found. Surely he knows this is going on, so what is really the true story on his position?

When it comes to illegal immigration, all you can say is his true stance and past history in dealing with this issue is dismal.

Taxes? I know he was against the Bush tax cuts even though it put some money back into my pocket, along with several million other people. Some say there were no spending cuts to go with them. Well, all I can say is a large portion of that money was poured back into the econmy through consumer spending.

You know, I have to put my trust for the future of our national security in a man who speaks with substance, who stands on his principles, who looks you in the eye and tells you straightforward what's on his mind. Fred Thompson is this man. He's well thought out, a great communicator, and rock solid on his principles. Go to and look around at his white papers and speeches to make up your own mind. Then tell me who you think should lead us through these dangerous and uncertain times as President and Commander-in-Chief for the next 8 years, Fred Thompson.

P.S. also check out

Anonymous said...

I am a proud veteran as well.

As far as the true story goes, McCain has also said torture is against US fundamental values - and it is.

I don't think there's any great conspiracy in that conclusion, or some hidden meaning. It's just his stance, and I for one respect him for it. Obviously someone who thinks national security can only be achieved by torturing people who *may* be a threat since the US now holds people en masse with no charges as well won't vote for McCain.

Steve V said...

"However, he is not the strong tiger on national security everyone thinks he is. I mean the man would not even consider water-boarding a terrorist to get info that could save countless American lives"

The man was tortured for years in Vietnam, how anyone can use his opposition to waterboarding as evidence of "weakness" is ridiculous.

As for military support, I read somewhere that there are more military voters per capita in Florida, than there was in South Carolina.

Steve V said...

I find this hard to believe, but a new poll of New York voters finds McCain well ahead