It’s an impressive victory, and a landslide among Republicans. Romney swept the conservatives and those who support President Bush. McCain did particularly well among those angry with the president. Romney’s perceived competence when it comes to economic matters helped him a lot. But he also did very well among socially conservative voters--including evangelicals and observant Catholics. Huck only prevailed among the very socially conservative, the very religious observant, and younger evangelicals. Huck’s showing was unimpressive but not devastating. Most troubling for his future was his poor showing among Catholics. Most troubling for McCain’s might be his poor showing among believers of any sort. Both Huck and McCain now have to win in SC. The "no-mo" scenario is becoming more credible. If Fred really were to win in SC, it’s barely but really possible that would allow Giuliani to sneak ahead once agin in FL. But if I could get the right odds, I’d put some money on Romney in SC. That’s not to say I have any real idea who’s going to win there, and I respect those who say it’s still going to be Huck. I just think Mitt has a chance now.
Huck probably won’t succeed in pushing the point that he was the first with the economic message that’s suddenly become fashionable; he certainly didn’t get the message out in Michigan. McCain can’t get away with just campaigning on patriotism and the surge, and he has to be credible on some domestic policy besides cutting spending. Romney was strengthened by his persistence and ingenuity in the face of adversity. The screen test for each candidates rightly continues, because none of them has really earned the part yet.