Can you believe Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. endorsed this guy???
Once again, a RealClearPolitics composite poll has proven to be an accurate predictor of a primary result. John McCain, considered a "Manchurian candidate" by many of his detractors, is on his way to a narrow but tangible victory over Mitt Romney.
Here's how the RealClearPolitics composite poll called it:
John McCain: 30.7
Mitt Romney: 30.1
Rudy Giuliani: 14.7
Mike Huckabee: 12.9
Ron Paul: 3.6
Here's the Republican delegate count coming in to the primary, according to RealClearPolitics (which is the standard I now use):
Mitt Romney: 59
Mike Huckabee: 40
John McCain: 36
Ron Paul: 4
Rudy Giuliani: 1
And here are the results from the Republican side, via ABC News, which shows McCain the winner with 99% of the vote counted:
Candidate, Votes, Vote %
McCain: 693,425, 36%
Romney: 598,152, 31%
Giuliani: 281,755, 15%
Huckabee: 259,703, 14%
Paul: 62,060, 3%
Thompson: 22,287, 1%
Hunter: 2,787, LT 1%
Note that Thompson and Hunter bowed out of the race too late for their names to be deleted from the ballot. Since Florida is a winner-take-all state, this means McCain takes all 57 delegates and opens up a commanding delegate lead on Romney, 93 to 59. Florida exit poll highlights HERE. Initial candidate reaction posted on KSL Channel 5 and by the Deseret Morning News and the Salt Lake Tribune.
And this makes John McCain the favorite to capture the Republican presidential nomination.
Complicating the issue further is the possibility that Rudy Giuliani may decide to exit the presidential race on January 30th, although he still has a decent shot in both New York and New Jersey. However, John McCain has opened up significant leads in a number of February 5th Super Tuesday states. Here are poll results from some of them:
New York: RealClearPolitics composite shows McCain 31.7, Giuliani 22.5, Romney 13.7, Huckabee 9.8. Romney can't win here.
New Jersey: RealClearPolitics composite shows McCain 29.0, Giuliani 26.0, Romney 11.0, Huckabee 11.0, Paul 5.7. Giuliani could pull it out. Romney can't win here.
California: RealClearPolitics composite shows McCain 31.2, Romney 22.3, Huckabee 11.5, Giuliani 11.0, Paul 5.2. Romney may have a chance here, but he's a distinct underdog.
RealClearPolitics has no composite polls for any other states at this time. We turn to Rasmussen for two other states:
Missouri: Rasmussen Jan. 25 shows Huckabee 27%, McCain 26%, Romney 18%, Giuliani 7%, Paul 5%. Romney unlikely to win here.
Alabama: Rasmussen Jan. 25 shows Huckabee 27%, McCain 27%, Romney 15%, Giuliani 8%, Paul 3%. Romney can't win here.
The bottom line - while John McCain is competitive in all five states listed above, Mitt Romney is clearly not competitive in four of them, and only partially competitive in California. To become more competitive in California may require Romney to start pandering to Hispanics. A Hobson's choice. And this is yet another reason why John McCain must now be considered a clear favorite.
Of course, there are other variables. Mitt Romney has Utah in his back pocket - we don't need a poll to confirm that. But Huckabee could take Alaska, although Ron Paul won the only semi-authoritative poll taken there. And there are still 21 states which will hold later primaries or caucuses.
Does this mean Mitt Romney should bow out of the camapign? Absolutely not. The impact of the possible exit of Rudy Giuliani has yet to be felt. One would think that most of Giuliani's supporters might gravitate towards McCain, but this could be modified by whatever endorsement Giuliani makes. Giuliani may be more likely to endorse McCain, but if Romney promises to put him on the short list for Attorney General in a Romney Administration, Giuliani might decide to surprise us and endorse Romney. This would give Romney a big shot in the arm, particularly in California and perhaps in some Northeast states. Romney would become competitive once again. BREAKING NEWS: MSNBC now reports that Giuliani may drop out and endorse McCain on Wedensday.
And as long as Romney has money to pour into his campaign, he still has a chance.
Oh, by the way, there was a Democratic primary, too. No slight intended to Democratic readers, but it was anticlimatic, as Hillary Clinton repaid Barrack Obama for the boot party she took from him in South Carolina by giving him a boot party in Florida, currently leading 50% to 33%. Apparently Florida Democratic voters don't share South Carolina's taste for chocolate.
By the way, Chelsea Clinton was in Salt Lake today, stumping on behalf of her mother. She appeared before an audience of 500 at the University of Utah and explained Hillary's program and answered questions. It is rumoured that she plans to celebrate her mother's Florida victory by visiting a local KFC and ordering the "Hillary Special". What's the "Hillary Special", you ask? Two small breasts, two fat thighs, and a bunch of left wings. LOL!