South Carolina polls
The polls date back to mid-January when Trump had a commanding 36% which is higher than his recent 31% in NH which he beat by 4 percentage points.
With momentum from NH plus his ability to outperform the polls, I expect Trump to capture 40% or more of the vote in South Carolina. Cruz will probably finish in second and Bush in third. I predict third place for Bush because Kasich’s moderate persona won’t play well in South Carolina and he also lacks financing. Rubio’s robotic glitch plus his poor performance in NH will keep him behind Bush. The real battle may be for fourth place. Will Kasich or Rubio win 4th place? It’s too close to call.
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Thinking about this some more, it’s not a completely outside possibility that Kasich can win 3rd place in SC behind Cruz. He could probably do that with only 13% of the vote, which is not an impossibly high amount of the vote. It depends on how much momentum he pulls out of NH. But if I had to bet even money, I’d bet on Bush to finish third.
If Kasich does pull off a surprise third place, he will become the establishment pick, especially if the vote falls Kasich, then Bush, then Rubio. (A fourth place finish for Rubio behind Kasich but ahead of Bush could be taken to indicate that he has recovered from his debate glitch and that he’s a stronger candidate than Bush. On the other hand, fourth place behind Bush means that the debate glitch killed him and that Kasich was a one-state wonder.)