John McCain beat Mike Huckabee in the South Carolina Republican primary by a margin or 33-30 (with 93% reporting). McCain’s support came from independents, veterans, non-evangelicals and older voters. Huckabee’s support came mainly from evangelicals. Thompson was beating Romney (16% to 15%), while Giuliani’s support remains in single digits. Giuliani got 2% of the vote – half of what Ron Paul received.
So what does this all mean? Not a lot. There are three viable candidates among the Republicans – Huckabee, McCain and Romney. Giuliani is still acting like he’s in the race. He may well be – some of the pundits say that he has a good chance in the northeast. It strikes me as a game of perceptions – if Giuliani can convince his supporters that he’s still a viable candidate, then he has a chance to pick up a lot of delegates in places like New York and California.
The US presidential primary system is interesting. States are weighted (more or less) on the basis of population, not party affiliation. Will the relatively “liberal” Republicans in the northeast embrace Giuliani or McCain? Or are moderate Republicans just a myth?
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