The methodology’s odd but this is right in line with yesterday’s polls. Result: Newt’s now at 70 percent on InTrade as a favorite to win tomorrow. In fact, follow that last link and play around with InTrade’s chart showing Newt’s numbers over time. As recently as two days ago, he was below 10 percent. Then the polls started moving after Monday night’s debate and InTrade’s clientele started moving with them. And now here we are. Amazing.

That’s the finding of the third Clemson University 2012 Palmetto Poll, a sample of 429 South Carolina GOP voters who indicated they plan to vote Saturday. The telephone poll was initiated Jan. 13 and recalibrated Jan. 18-19 to measure changing dynamics. Twenty percent of the likely voters remain undecided.

“We expect a reaction by the electorate to the personal revelations about Gingrich to be registered on Saturday, however, we do not think it will be substantial enough to erase the lead Gingrich has over Romney,” said Clemson University political scientist Dave Woodard.

“Our head-to-head matchup of the candidates has consistently shown Mitt Romney competitive. The margin for Romney has evaporated this week, and we believe that Gingrich — who led our December poll with 38 percent to Romney’s 21 percent — will win the South Carolina primary,” he said.

Honesty/integrity was one of the two factors most commonly cited by respondents for their vote (ideology, not electability, was the other), so who knows how that ABC interview with Newt’s ex-wife will shake out tomorrow. Even so, Romney is scrambling to lower expectations: One of his top advisors told reporters today “of course” they might lose tomorrow, and Mitt himself told Laura Ingraham that he expects to lose a few states to Gingrich. (Listen below.) So much for the 50-state sweep, but if SC does break for Newt and Romney holds on to win the nomination, it’ll be the first time that Carolina voted for an eventual loser. Does Romney care whether he loses tomorrow so long as he ends up as the nominee? He should, says James Antle:

An early-state sweep would have contained, and maybe eliminated outright, Romney’s Southern problem. Romney trailed Herman Cain and then Gingrich in many Southern states. If he wins South Carolina, Gingrich could go on to beat Romney in many of those primaries. To win the nomination, Romney will then have to amass many delegates in states that aren’t as red. That’s doable, but suboptimal in terms of pleasing the base ahead of a closely contested general election.

An even worse scenario for Romney: his numbers have just risen in part because Republicans have been acclimating — resigning? — themselves to him nomination. But what if the shattering of his inevitability makes those numbers fall again? Then Romney could have a much bigger problem than pleasing disaffected Southern Republicans in the fall.

Romney should win Florida regardless of what happens, but like I say, go look at that InTrade chart. Things change awfully fast in modern primaries. Kaus’s “Feiler Faster Thesis” vindicated? Exit quotation from Romney, laying it on thick even by his usual standards: “Frankly, to be in a neck-and-neck race at this last moment is kind of exciting.” I’m sure he and his team are thrilled.

Update: Christian Heinze flags another interesting bit from the Ingraham audio. He keeps talking about how the economy is getting better while stressing that Obama deserves zero credit for it. Ingraham, quite understandably, wonders how we win with that message:

INGRAHAM: Isn’t that a hard argument to make if you’re saying — Okay, he inherited this recession, and he took a bunch of steps to try to turn the economy around, and now we’re seeing some more jobs, but vote against him anyway?

Isn’t that a hard argument to make? Is that a stark enough contrast?

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? [laughter] It just happens to be the truth…. at some point it’s going to get better, but I don’t think President Obama’s helping it.

Conceding that the economy’s recovering while denying credit to The One is an odd way to play it when he could be questioning the strength and durability of the recovery instead, but my hunch is that it wouldn’t matter much either way. If unemployment begins to tick down in a significant way, there’s no way to spin it away that’ll seem compelling to undecideds, especially low-information undecideds. That’s the peril of running against an incumbent. He’ll get credit whether he deserves it or not.