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Friday, November 9, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 1:08 PM | permalink
There's a lot out there today about South Carolina, and how it is changing for Mitt.

First, this piece by John King over at CNN:

Some excerpts from the transcript:
That Romney is competitive here impresses people like Spartanburg County Republican Chairman Rick Beltram, who credits Romney with patiently and methodically answering his skeptics and addressing his vulnerabilities...

"If you look at how he has performed in the last six months versus all other candidates, he has made amazing progress going forward," Beltram said...

The results: He leads in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, is ahead or in a dead heat with Giuliani in Michigan (Romney' birth state), and is betting early wins would give him the momentum for what could be a decisive victory once the calendar shifts south to South Carolina.

Second, Jonathan Martin has a piece out today about the changing demographics and politics of South Carolina. It it he sees South Carolina placing more and more emphasis on fiscal conservatism and national security, with slightly less focus on social conservatism. He says that this reflects why Romney and Giuliani are so competitive there. He notes:

But the shift also has the potential to help Romney.

None of the Republicans who showed for his rally cared a whit that he was Mormon — as might have been the case in the “old” South Carolina.

Rather it was his promise to restrain spending and patriotic fervor for American strength that resonated.

“Where we have really lost faith with the party faithful is on fiscal issues,” said Warren Tompkins, a veteran South Carolina GOP strategist and Romney’s top consultant in the state.

“There’s a lot of disillusionment with spending.”

But it’s more than that, Tompkins argued. South Carolina Republicans, like those around the country, have been turned off by the scandals in the nation’s capital as well.

“That plays to Romney’s strength. He’s the personification of family values and, as a businessman, the personification of fiscal conservatism.”



Third, Noam Scheiber at TNR asks whether Romney is running away with the nomination:
For all the attention Rudy Giuliani got with that Pat Robertson endorsement earlier this week, the numbers increasingly suggest Romney is going to be the GOP nominee. According to Pollster.com, Romney's up 14 points in Iowa (28.6 to Huckabee's 14.8; Rudy is third at 13.7), has a steady and slightly widening lead in New Hampshire (28.8 to Rudy's 21.4), and, perhaps most interestingly, has begun to surge in South Carolina lately (he's now in a close third at 16.1, behind Thompson's 18.9 and Rudy's 19.8; Romney was languishing around 10 percent there only a few months ago.) Michigan, too, is looking better and better for him. Pollster.com shows Romney in second with 19.5 to Rudy's 21.7, but Rudy has been trending down there for the last several months, while Romney has been trending up.
He also lays out some possible ways to derail Romney's nomination, but finds all of them unlikely.

Finally, not specific to South Carolina, Micheal Luo over at the NYT has this news flash: Romney is optimistic:
Each of the leading Republican contenders has sought to channel in some way the shiny optimism that helped make Ronald Reagan, who famously campaigned on the slogan that it was “morning again in America,” so popular. But it is Mr. Romney who has most thoroughly incorporated such sunbeamy phrases and anecdotes into his repertory on the stump.
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