A generation ago, or even a few years ago for that matter, the former Massachusetts governor, Mormon and health care socialist Mitt Romney would have had no realistic shot at winning the Palmetto State primary in the US presidential race. But Romney can thank a weak Republican field full of flavour-of-the-week candidates that continue to rise and fall one after another. The demographics of South Carolina are also under-going a dramatic revolution too with Northeasterners and other outsiders flooding the coast and many areas throughout the State. Will there be enough Yankee voters and “moderate” Republicans to give Romney a victory of his fellow GOPers in two month’s time? It’s looking more likely every day. CNN has the story:
A triumph by the former Massachusetts governor in the first-in-the-South primary state has long been considered unthinkable by Republican insiders here, where Romney’s northern pedigree and evolving positions on core conservative issues have been viewed with skepticism since his last White House bid in 2008.
But, as in Iowa, Romney is holding steady at or near the top of the polls in the Palmetto State with roughly a quarter of the GOP vote in his corner.
And crucially, no other candidate has managed to rally conservatives and emerge as a serious alternative to the presumed front-runner.
…”It’s gone even better this election cycle than I thought,” said state Rep. Nathan Ballentine, one of only three elected officials here supporting Romney. “It used to be, ‘Hey, the guy’s a Mormon. He’s the Yankee governor.’ But now it’s the economy people are focused on. I am liking his chances. It would surprise me if he didn’t win South Carolina.”
…The South Carolina race is still extraordinarily fluid, with nearly 70% of GOP voters still undecided about the race, according to a Clemson University poll out this week.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears to be the latest candidate on the rise in the state, and he’s adding staff and opening field offices to capitalize on his recent surge.
But even without a serious organizational footprint in the state, Romney has weathered boomlets from two Southerners, Perry and Cain, to maintain a poll position in the low to mid-20s throughout the summer and fall.