A new South Carolina Presidential primary preference poll is out from Zogby. The poll should serve as a wakeup call to the McCain campaign.
Various news sources have said that McCain's people expect to win South Carolina in 2008 and they should. In 2000, McCain won nearly 42 percent of the primary vote in his loss to George W. Bush. If McCain stays anywhere close to that number, McCain could win the SC primary with relative ease in the crowded field.
The problem is, McCain is at little over half that amount of support in the latest Zogby poll. In that poll, McCain sits at 22 percent, Rudy sits at 19%, non candidate Fred Thompson sits at 11%, Mitt Romney, who has worked the grassroots with a furor, sits at 10% and non candidate Governor Mark Sanford sits at 8%. If neither Thompson of Sanford get in the race, that is a 19% that is up for grabs.
That 19% will be looking for a conservative candidate. That could potentially rule out McCain and Rudy, leaving Romney the potential big winner of of those votes. For like him or not, Romney is quickly becoming the proverbial leopard who has changed his spots.
Chances are Sanford will not get in and Thompson will. That said, the numbers have to be a wakeup call for McCain and his people. They have sort of sat out the cycle of local county conventions and grassroots building. That has hurt them. McCain's numbers are the lowest they have been in SC since the horse race for 2008 started.
The McCain folks are going to have to roll up their sleeves in South Carolina and go to work to win the primary. It is not going to be the automatic victory some envisioned.
Some McCain supporters do not care. One McCain supporter confided to me that with the early primaries in Florida and California, South Carolina was not the big deal it once was, and a defeat in South Carolina to Romney or Rudy would be no big deal if it was followed by wins in Florida and California.
Perhaps that is the case. I do not blog about Florida or California politics. But, here in South Carolina, McCain is going to have to fight for a win afterall. It is not going to be handed to him by matter of right. No one knows who will win South Carolina, especially when one factors in Fred Thompson. South Carolina's Republican Primary is up for grabs.
The question is will McCain answer the SC wakeup call and fight here, or will he see the problematic situation and write South Carolina off and spend his time in bigger states?