Race Tightens, Stakes High In South Carolina, Nevada

Tomorrow is a significant day in both the GOP and Democratic primaries. The difference from the two early contests of Iowa and New Hampshire is that we now have tangible proof that the nominations of Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders should be treated as real possibilities.

The primary in South Carolina and caucuses in Nevada on Feb. 20, will either further complicate the races, like Iowa and New Hampshire have, or offer clarity, particularly in the GOP contest.

Record turnout is expected in the South Carolina Republican primary. Commenting on the prediction, Larry Sabato, director of UVA’s Center for Politics, stated: “Never before has there been such a crush of national TV attention nor so many dynamic, polarizing candidates.”

One of those polarizing candidates, Trump, is widely expected to win big. FiveThirtyEight gives him an 81% chance of winning the primary. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has a good shot at picking up a strong third place behind Cruz, with the well timed endorsement from Gov. Nikki Haley.



The GOP race has been itching to winnow down to three candidates, despite the six-man field already feeling pretty undersized. Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz come to South Carolina with the two highest delegate counts, 17 and 11, respectively. Rubio is a close third with 10. Jeb Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson each has 5 delegates or fewer.

South Carolina has 50 delegates up for grabs, the highest count yet.

Momentum, such an important factor in generating excitement around a candidate and helping to inspire actual votes, will be crucial leading up to March 1. That's when 11 states go to the polls to pick a party nominee. Bush will hope for an exceptional showing in South Carolina to have even a whisper of a shot come Super Tuesday.

Kasich won’t be in South Carolina on primary day; one can guess what his campaign is expecting to happen there.

On the same day, Democrats will be in Nevada, vying for a total of 35 delegates. As far as delegate counts go, Hillary Clinton is miles ahead with the 400+ super-delegates, who have already pledged their support to the former Secretary of State.

Sanders, however, is quickly closing in on Clinton in national polls, and a win in Nevada will further fan the Bern. Polling in Nevada itself looks like Iowa, where the candidates were in a dead-heat. RealClearPolitics’ polling average has Sanders at 46.3 and Clinton at 48.7.


Next story loading loading..