Robert Novak looks at the outlook of the increasing “to close to call” Republican race for President. Here’s the insight although I disagree that a Florida loss for Giuliani would ed his chances since I think his chances ended when he left Iowa and started on his “Big State” approach.
This Saturday's South Carolina primary looks like a battle between McCain and Huckabee, but Romney's win could give him momentum..
South Carolina is Thompson's chance to make a splash. A third-place finish or worse is very possible here, and it could be deadly. Romney's resurrection deflates some of the potential gravitation towards Thompson as the conservative candidate.
In Florida, McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney are nearly in a four-way tie, with McCain and Giuliani slightly ahead of the other two. A Romney bounce could relegate Giuliani to third, which would effectively end his campaign. Huckabee also has quite a bit at stake in Florida if he doesn't win South Carolina.
The outlook for February 5 Super Tuesday will depend on these questions: (a) Will Giuliani fall in Florida? (b) Will Huckabee be diminished by losing South Carolina? (c) Will Thompson be a contender? (d) Will Romney still have momentum?
In the long term, these are three most likely scenarios: (a) McCain rides South Carolina and Florida wins to a February 5 sweep; (b) Romney wins Florida, and his huge cash advantages carries him on crowded February 5; (c) neither McCain nor Romney dominates, one of them leads in the delegate count, but neither wins a majority of delegates, leaving Huckabee, Thompson, Giuliani, and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) with the balance of delegates
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