Yesterday ARG released Presidential polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. For the first time, Mitt Romney leads in all three.
Iowa: Romney-27, Huckabee-19, Giuliani-16, McCain-14, Thompson-8
New Hampshire: Romney-30, Giuliani-23, McCain-17, Huckabee-7, Thompson-5
South Carolina: Romney-29, Giuliani-23, McCain-13, Thompson-10, Huckabee-5
Now, allow me to point out that ARG is less than perfect and I have been extremely critical of their polls in the past. So, I am skeptical of these results, but they are telling. If indeed these are even somewhat reliable they tell the following story:
First, the Mormon issue is becoming less and less of an issue and the evangelical endorsements helped Romney in SC and did not hurt him in NH.
Second, Thompson is in deep, deep trouble. Running 4th in South Carolina??? Likely not accurate, however this is demonstrative of Thompson’s continued slide and loss of favor. He’s done.
Third, Huckabee has a real shot in Iowa, if he can pull off a victory there or at least a solid 2nd place, it could indeed propel him to a win in South Carolina. A state that would prefer to vote for a Southerner.
Fourth, Giuliani, while still strong, looks to have leveled off and will likely not break 25% in any of the states. Bad news for him. It appears that in these three states, the first to get to 30% will win.
Fifth, despite his low national polling, Romney is demonstrating that when the voters get to know him, they like him and are inclined to vote for him.
Here is my Presidential rankings (not personal favorites, but likelyhood to win the nomination):
1. Mitt Romney – Early states mean much, much more than national polls. The question is, is will these early wins be able to propel him in California, Texas and Florida? The big wigs.
2. Rudy Giuliani – Big lead nationally, can he translate that to early states? He is starting to realize that he needs to win early and is putting his chips on New Hampshire. Condensed primary schedule may help him hold onto large Super-duper Tuesday states (CA, TX, NJ, NY) and he has a legitimate shot to win the nomination, without winning any of the traditional big 3.
3. Mike Huckabee – Yes, folks, you read that right. Why is he third? Because he is the only other candidate that has a shot at winning a State. If Huck wins Iowa, he will finish top 3 in other states leading up to South Carolina. Will an Iowa victory and strong showing in New Hampshire or Michigan give him a win in South Carolina? If so, it is now a three man race. All of this is a long shot, but not out of the realm of possibility
4. John McCain– A second place finish in New Hampshire may revive his candidacy. He is already improving nationally and is back to being the candidate he was in 2000. He has a slim shot, but I would say he is all but done.
5. Fred Thompson – He has been more than a disappointment on the campaign trail. The only sign of life he has shown was at the debate. His campaign appearances have been dismal and people realize his boat is a sinking one. You heard it here first: FRED THOMPSON WILL NOT WIN SOUTH CAROLINA. In fact, I will be so bold as to predict he finishes third there; and this will be his highest finish. Fortunately, he doesn’t even want to be President so no skin off of his back. ((Why would you vote for someone who doesn’t want it, Thompson supporters?))
Finally, only three of these candidates can beat Hillary: Romney, Giuliani, and McCain. Thompson does not have the work ethic and Huckabee is too nice (does that make sense?).