Will South Carolina be Iowa all over again for Mitt Romney?
Unlike New Hampshire, Romney will once again have to face more evangelical voters. But it is possible that the evangelical vote may have fewer viable candidates to fracture their vote. If so that could prove an issue for Romney (although this part of tonight’s story is still unclear with everyone vowing to soldier on).
Nonetheless, going into South Carolina from a broad based and decisive New Hampshire victory may make a difference for Romney. Romney is already polling well ahead of competitors in South Carolina. And Romney’s victory speech tonight, crafted to show how he will go after President Barack Obama on core ideological issues, was full of material that will play well to the Republican base. And, although Romney’s was a teleprompted speech (echos of Obama), there was palpable enthusiasm and electricity from the crowd.
In N.H., Santorum polled well only among one group —those for whom abortion is the most important issue. But Gingrich didn’t win over a single identifiable demographic, which is telling about the current state of his campaign. And Perry disappeared from view. It is important to also note that New Hampshire primary voters also blew right beyond the potential Mormon issue by giving more than half their vote to Mormon candidates (Romney and Huntsman).