Now a whole new ballgame in South Carolina!
New Hampshire primary Results from the New York Times:
Exit polls showed 15% of those who cast a GOP ballot were first time voters. They went for Trump by 36% and Kasich by 19% so perhaps more of a boost to Kasich. From the Dem exit poll, 17% were new voters and they voted for Sanders by 78% so a big boost to his margin there.
Strength of Trump Alternative is Divided
Across the range of issues examined in the GOP exit poll Trump wins nearly every category. This might not be the case if Trump faced just one or two conservative challengers. And that presents the problem as we move to South Carolina.
Polling for South Carolina is weeks old (Real Clear Politics Average) and that makes it practically worthless. Still, it's a safe bet Trump retains the lead in the Palmetto State and Cruz also is strong. Polls in the RCP Average were taken before Iowa voted so expect Cruz to increase support. Don't forget that South Carolina also has a larger population of evangelical Christian voters than New Hampshire and that evangelicals gave Cruz the win in Iowa.
What about the bump that John Kasich will get from New Hampshire? Do you get a bump for coming in second and would it translate to South Carolina? Some perhaps. But South Carolina is more conservative than New Hampshire and John Kasich is more moderate than many South Carolina voters in the GOP primary. Still, he's making a number of appearances in the Palmetto State and I remain impressed with him as I did 34 years ago when I supported him in his first election to Congress. He's a good, decent man and I enjoyed meeting him again last July on Hilton Head Island.
Candidates will be crisscrossing South Carolina over the next ten days. Here's a handy guide to show where they will be. Note that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has canceled an event scheduled for Wednesday evening in Charleston. Expect him to withdraw soon. News leaked of a talk between Trump and Christie on Wednesday. But that won't help Trump much in South Carolina. Not that he needs it.
Whose Winning the Money Race?
Carson and Fiorina have announced they will go on as have the others. A big question is how much money these campaigns have left. A full breakdown is here. The leaders from the previous quarter reporting:
Note that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has burned through a mountain of money. John Kasich has only $2.5 million left though he will likely raise more after his strong showing in New Hampshire.
South Carolina will Sort it Out!
So where does this leave us? Once again, South Carolina will have to shake things up and I have no doubt we will. If I had to guess now, I'd say Trump wins because of divided opposition but Cruz will give him a solid run and do well. That leaves Rubio, Bush and Kasich battling for third which is ok if you have the money to go on. But if money is getting tight, it might be time to call it a day. After South Carolina comes two weeks of primaries in 26 states (calendar). Only candidates with sufficient funds will be able to compete.
UPDATE: Fiorina drops out. Christie to follow shortly. Both amounted to 11.5% in New Hampshire. How will supporters in South Carolina split?