The polls are open; last chance for Fred. Our tipsters rage against the dying of the light by pointing to the new ARG showing him jumping eight points in two days. Significant? ARG is traditionally an outlier — but they also tend to understate, not overstate, Fred’s numbers, so there may be something to this. His problem is he’s still likely to finish third behind Huck and Mac. Is a strong third enough to continue? I don’t think so but I look forward to the rationalizations tonight.
The surge to watch is towards Huckabee. Most of the polls earlier this week had him 5-7 points behind McCain and holding steady, but of the last six taken, two show them tied, one shows him just a point behind, and that same ARG poll that’s brought hope to Fredville has him exploding to 33%, seven points ahead of Mac. InTrade actually has Huck favored slightly to win at the moment. McCain’s always struck me as too squishy to win a state like SC whereas the “Christian leader” is conservative enough about the right things. I say Huck in an upset, which means a four-man death match in Florida with no clear favorite and an ever-increasing chance of the confederate flag and the difference between gay marriage and bestiality becoming issues in the general election. Super.
Nevada looks like a walkover for Mitt but one poll last week actually showed Maverick ahead. If he wins there today and holds on in SC, oh lord. The Dem race is actually more interesting than the GOP’s given the electoral shenanigans and the fact that Hillary needs it badly to cut into Obama’s lead in SC (where the Dems don’t vote until next week) by re-convincing black voters that he can’t really win. Too close to call right now; I’m going to say Hillary wins, with every pundit and his mama talking about the Latino vote afterwards.
Sound off in the comments. While we wait for results, Byron York imagines the Thompson campaign that might have been…
Update: I wrote the above half an hour ago but it’s 1 p.m. right now and Fox is calling it for Mitt. What does this do to South Carolina now, where the polls are still open? Do undecideds break for Romney?
Political Wire said results weren’t expected until 3:30 ET; it must be a blowout. The Dem results are due at five and those will certainly be closer.
Update: Here’s a little Saturday morning nuance re: Mitt’s claim that he’s the candidate of change. And here’s yet another issue you can expect to hear about for months on end if Huckabee’s the nominee.
Update: Actually, the Dem results might be faster at the state party website.
Update: The AP says Nevada’s Mormons turned out big for their guy:
About a quarter of Nevada GOP voters were Mormon, and virtually all of them preferred Mitt Romney. Overall, about half of Romney’s Nevada votes came from Mormons. Among non-Mormons, he had a slight lead over Ron Paul…
People calling themselves Republicans dominated the Nevada GOP caucuses, and they overwhelmingly preferred Romney. Independents just as heavily picked Ron Paul. Conservatives also were in the majority, and they picked Romney.
Update: I don’t know where Geraghty’s getting his info but very early exit polls in Carolina apparently have McCain and Huck close and Mitt and Fred back a ways. Plus, early signs of a “Diebold effect”!
Update: It’s 2:50 and the very first results in Nevada are coming in for the Democrats. Keep your eyes on that state party page.
Update: She did it. With 78% reporting and a six-point lead, Fox calls it for Hillary. The effect of this on the SC race next week will be interesting. Expect the Messiah to appeal to black voters there to be his firewall. ABC asks a good question, too: With Silky tanking completely, even in a big union state, does he pull out now ahead of SC and free up his supporters to break for Obama?
Update: Remember that guy at Luntz’s focus group who warned people not to count on Obama winning the culinary workers despite the union endorsement because of the large Latino demographic? He might have been right. The Las Vegas Sun says Hillary carried six of the nine at-large sites on the strip and may end up with seven.
Update: A forty-point margin for the Glacier among Latinos. Amazing.