Regarding Saturday’s crucial GOP primary in South Carolina:
If McCain wins then it stands to reason he’ll win Florida too. South Carolina’s and Florida’s GOP primary bases have much in common, e.g., retired military, military wives, retired business owners.
If McCain wins S.C. and Florida then not only would he be the obvious leader going into Super Tuesday but the “inevitability factor” might start kicking into high gear.
If Huckabee wins South Carolina then he’s got a legitimate chance to win Florida. In that event he’ll obviously be a major player on Super Tuesday and perhaps beyond.
Romney never needed to win South Carolina. But a 3rd-place showing would bode ill for his chances in Florida and thus for Super Tuesday.
Thompson’s campaign was for all practical purposes over the very instant Iowa announced its results. Anything less than a strong 2nd in South Carolina and presumably he’ll make it official by withdrawing from the race.