The most recent slate of South Carolina polls shows Marco Rubio getting anywhere from 15-24% of the vote today in South Carolina. Quite frankly, I would be surprised if he does not out perform all of that polling and end up with at least 25% of the vote. One of the things you see in all the surveys is that the responses from earlier in the week show Rubio getting 15-16%, and the ones from later in the week show him getting 22-24%.
Polls have consistently shown that over half of South Carolina voters were either undecided or open to changing their minds in the last week of the campaign, and there is a real sense that a large number of those voters are settling on Marco Rubio in the last week of this campaign. Rubio has been touring the state with a trio of high profile endorsees in Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, and Trey Gowdy. The thing about Gowdy, Haley and Scott is that they not only pack a name recognition punch, but they all also know how to move a crowd, and Rubio’s have been growing in both size and intensity throughout the week.
At the end of the day, I am not going to predict that Rubio will overtake Trump, although it would not stun me if that happened. I will predict that Rubio will surprise people by finishing less than 10% behind Trump, and possibly less than 5% behind Trump. Right now, all the momentum in-state is on his side, and for an electorate that has been waiting until the last minute to break, the size of the wave for Rubio could be huge.
I was in Iowa when the Rubio surprise wave was building and this one in South Carolina feels much the same, only bigger.
With all that having been said, here is my fearless prediction for today’s top line results, which will doubtless make me look foolish less than 24 hours from now. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, however.